The Donald Trump campaign released its first television advertisement Monday. The 30-second spot reiterates Trump’s call for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the country “until we can figure out what’s going on.”
It also promises Trump will “quickly cut the head off ISIS and take their oil, and he’ll stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our Southern border that Mexico will pay for.”
Aerial footage of dozens of people rushing across a desert landscape plays as those last words are spoken. The one problem? It’s not footage of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The fact-checking website Politfact quickly pointed out the footage is actually b-roll of Moroccans trying to enter the Spanish city of Melilla. The footage originally aired on the Italian television network RepubblicaTV in May 2014.
Both the TV station’s logo and a time stamp that are visible in the original footage appear to have been removed from the footage used in the Trump advertisement.
Asked about the discrepancy by NBC reporter Katy Tur, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski admitted the campaign knew the footage didn’t depict Mexican immigrants. “No shit it’s not the Mexican border, but that’s what our country is going to look like if we don’t do anything,” Lewandowski said.
Trump communications director Hope Hicks clarified in a formal statement: “The use of this footage was intentional and selected to demonstrate the severe impact of an open border and the very real threat Americans face if we do not immediately build a wall and stop illegal immigration. The biased mainstream media doesn’t understand, but American want to protect their jobs and families do.”
The Trump campaign told the Washington Post the ad is the first of six to eight his campaign plans to roll out over the next several months in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s a “major buy and it’s going to go on for months,” Trump told the paper.
The campaign said in a statement it has budgeted $1.1 million for ad buys in Iowa, and $1 million in New Hampshire.