A video tweeted out by President Donald Trump in an apparent attempt to stoke fear of undocumented immigrants ahead of next week's elections features a cop-killer who was freed by Trump ally Joe Arpaio, entered the country illegally under President George W. Bush, and used an AR-15 that Republicans have refused to ban, The Washington Post reports.
“Democrats Let him stay!” the ad says as it shows Luis Bracamontes, an undocumented immigrant convicted of murdering two sheriff's deputies in Sacramento, California.
“It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country. Vote Republican now!” the ad says.
But The Washington Post reports that Bracamontes was first deported in 1997 under President Bill Clinton because of a drug charge. He reentered the country but was deported by the Bush administration in 2001. He came back again in 2002 and was allowed to marry an American citizen and remain in the country.
The ad also neglects to mention that then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office, a Trump ally who received a presidential pardon over his racial profiling initiative, released Bracamontes from jail after his return to the country in 1998 for “reasons unknown.”
Bracamontes also used an AR-15 to slay the deputies, a rifle that Republicans have long resisted banning.
Video echoes infamous Willie Horton ad: "The ad recalls the notorious 'Willie Horton' campaign ad financed by supporters of the George H.W. Bush campaign in the 1988 presidential election," CNN reported. "Horton was a convicted murderer who committed rape while furloughed under a program in Massachusetts where Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis was governor. The ad has since come to be seen as one of the most racially problematic in modern political history since it played into white fear and African-American stereotypes. It was regarded at the time as devastating to the Dukakis campaign."
Moderate Republicans reject message: Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, neither of whom is running for re-election, condemned the ad.
"The politics of fear, hatred and division should have no place in our country or the Republican Party, let alone the Presidency. All Americans should reject this ad and its motives," Kasich wrote.
"This is a sickening ad. Republicans everywhere should denounce it," Flake added.
Conservatives say "nothing racist" about "facts": "Luis Bracamontes, an illegal, was deported and yet returned to the U.S.," former Republican Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh tweeted. "He then proceeded to kill two California Sheriff's Deputies. These are the facts. There's nothing racist about presenting the facts."