While COVID-19 dominates much of President Donald Trump‘s time and attention, his reelection team is rehashing old tricks ahead of the election.
The campaign team once again is resorting to dog-whistling to rile up his base for his 2020 presidential election against presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden and Twitter isn’t having it.
The Trump operation on Thursday drew backlash after its official Twitter account, Trump War Room, posted an ad that says “I’m on Team Joe! MS-13 Gang Members. Thanks for pledging not to deport us!”
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) April 16, 2020
The Trump campaign is reviving divisive language that helped elect him to the White House in 2016. The ad features an image of two heavily tattooed men, presumably members of the MS-13 gang, a violent gang of mostly Central American descendants. The hit plays into Trump’s desire to paint himself as tough on crime and undocumented immigrants, specifically those crossing the southern border.
Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, was very critical of the ad’s rhetoric. The Democratic representative warned that the campaign material can embolden Trump supporters to act violently, as they did in Trump’s electoral college victory against his old rival Hillary Clinton.
“This is the kind of sh*t that led to El Paso,” Castro said in a tweet from his reelection campagin, referencing a racially motivated attack at a Texas Wal-Mart that claimed the lives of 22 people in 2019.
Castro represents Texas’ 20th congressional district, a majority-Hispanic district that covers a part of the city of San Antonio.
— Joaquin Castro (@Castro4Congress) April 16, 2020
Frank Sherry, founder of immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice, called the campaign ad racist and desperate.
“It’s April and they’re going full racial incitement already,” Sherry said in a tweet. “I sense a bit of panic in Trumpworld.”
It's April and they're going full racial incitement already.
They know this shit doesn't really work. They tried it in VA gov race in '17 (D won by 9+), in '18 midterms (House Ds won nationwide by 8.6+) and even KY and LA govs this year.
I sense a bit of panic in Trumpworld. https://t.co/4atnQpYYgs
— Frank Sharry (@FrankSharry) April 17, 2020
While the former Vice President has yet to comment on this ad, he’s been very critical of Trump’s views on Latin America. He wrote a 2019 OP-ED in the Miami Herald saying the President’s rhetoric “vilifying immigrants” is an “assault the dignity of the Hispanic community and scare voters to turn out on Election Day, while not addressing the real challenges facing our hemisphere.”
President Trump’s views on Latinos have been clear from the start. One of his first notorious campaign statements in 2015 involved his feelings towards Mexicans.
“They’re bringing drugs; they’re bringing crime; they’re rapists,” he said in announcing his first and successful run for office, which happened to be for the highest office in the land.