Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has just released its first official TV spot.
Beginning with a photo of former State secretary and current Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton standing beside President Barack Obama, the ad cuts to photos of the San Bernardino shooters and mentions the threat of “radical Islamic terrorism.” This threat, the ad explains, is the basis for Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States. “He’ll quickly cut the head off ISIS,” the narrator confidently says, “and take their oil.”
The ad then reminds the audience of Trump’s plan to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the United States across its southern border by building a wall and making Mexico pay for it. His vow is paired with footage of what’s supposed to be Mexicans and other Latin Americans scrambling across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Except, according to Politifact, those aren’t Latin American immigrants; they’re North Africans. And that isn’t the U.S.-Mexico border; it’s Morocco.
The clear suggestion is that the footage is of the ‘southern border’ between the United States and Mexico. But it’s not — it’s 5,000 miles away, in a small Spanish enclave on the mainland of Morocco.
PolitiFact was able to trace the footage back to the Italian television network RepubblicaTV. On May 3, 2014, the network posted footage of Moroccans crossing the border into Melilla, one of two enclaves on the Moroccan coast that are held by Spain. Migrants who cross the border there are essentially entering territory held by a European Union nation, even though they are still on the African continent. …
Regardless of Trump’s imagery, the Pew Research Center noted last month that ‘for the first time since the 1940s, more immigrants from Mexico are leaving the U.S. than coming into the country. The shift is due to several reasons, including slow economic recovery after the Great Recession that may have made the U.S. less attractive, as well as stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, particularly at the border.’
A spokesperson for the Republican frontrunner said she didn’t know where the video came from, basically denying that the Trump campaign had purposely used the footage to give a false impression of the situation along the Rio Grande. But clearly that’s exactly what Trump’s people did here.
Then again, Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco. So maybe, in a roundabout way, this is just another one of Trump’s loathsome attempts at Hispandering.
Let this be a notice to everyone that America’s Great Quadrennial Lie-Off has officially begun. And with all the campaigning and politicking in store, for the next nine months (if not more) you’d do yourself a favor to remember Poe’s immortal advice: believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.
Because it’s all about fiction, and the campaign knows it:
It was "intentional". New official statement from the Trump campaign: pic.twitter.com/uPzaG5zL2l
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) January 4, 2016
Hector Luis Alamo is a Chicago-based writer and the deputy editor at Latino Rebels. You can connect with him @HectorLuisAlamo.