Republicans, led by Trump, have made attacks on immigrants the central focus of their closing argument in 2018. Negative ads on immigration are being run by GOP organizations including the NRSC, NRCC, and RGA, and superPACS like CLF, SLF and America First. America’s Voice has compiled a database of anti-immigrant ads at our Distract and Divide website.
Over the past week, the nation was rocked by racist violence – the shooting deaths of two African-Americans in Kentucky, the attempted bombing of Democratic figures, and the massacre American Jews in their Pittsburgh house of worship. In the wake of that violence, Republican candidates and organizations have not only continued with their anti-immigrant attack ads, but have launched new ones.
The Senate Leadership Fund, the super PAC associated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, launched an ad in Tennessee invoking the caravan of asylum seekers. The ad states 7,000 are “marching on America.” No matter that the caravan was cited by the Pittsburgh shooter as his motivation for “going in.”
In that same race, Marsha Blackburn, who has made attacking immigrants a central premise of her campaign, is running an ad featuring the caravan and a litany of lies. It starts with the claim that 14,000 migrants are marching, moves on to claim that many are “gang members,” and finishes with the claim pushed by Trump that some are “people from the Middle East, possibly even terrorists.” All lies. Blackburn may have tweeted from her government account that her “heart breaks” for the victims of the Pittsburgh massacre, but the pinned tweet on her campaign twitter feed remains that incendiary ad.
David Nir, Editor of DailyKos Elections pointed to a similar caravan ad funded by Paul Ryan’s super PAC:
Last week, the Congressional Leadership Fund began running what may be the first attack ad featuring the migrant caravan that is slowly walking toward the United States from Central America and is still 1,000 miles away. A histrionic narrator intones, “A caravan of illegal immigrants, marching toward America.” (No, they are refugees fleeing from violence in their home countries.) “Over 7,000 strong,” he continues, “the caravan is full of gang members and criminals.” (There’s zero evidence for this.)
On Facebook, Kevin Yoder (KS-03) and Pete Sessions (TX-32) are running ads that focus on the caravan too.
Also, the NRCC just launched an ad in Georgia’s Sixth District attacking Lucy McBath for allegedly supporting policies they claim “will leave us defenseless against the surge of illegal immigrants.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Republicans are following their dear leader down the dark path of mendacity, racism and blood-and-soil nationalism. Not only do we have a president that knows no shame, we have a political party that knows no bounds.”