CNN refused to take criticism from the president’s son. Donald Trump Jr. slammed the news network Saturday, claiming in a tweet that it had refused to run a racist immigration-related ad that had been sponsored by Donald J. Trump for President. “CNN refused to run this ad… I guess they only run fake news and won’t talk about real threats that don’t suit their agenda,” Trump Jr. tweeted.
CNN responded through its public relations account, noting that the editorial coverage on the network had made it “abundantly clear … that this ad is racist.” When the network was “presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined,” noted @CNNPR. “Those are the facts.”
The ad, which the president tweeted out for the first time on Wednesday, isn’t just racist but has lots of lies too. The ad blames Democrats for allowing a Mexican man, Luis Bracamontes, back into the United States after he was deported. Yet the truth is Bracamontes, who killed two Sacramento-area deputies in a 2014 rampage, was deported and slipped back into the country several times, most recently when George W. Bush was president. The ad then raises concerns that the migrant caravan currently making its way into the United States could let in another person like Bracamontes into the country.
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona harshly condemned the ad earlier in the week, calling it “sickening” and saying that “Republicans everywhere should denounce it.” Many compared the ad to the now-infamous Willie Horton ads that supported George H.W. Bush against Michael Dukakis. Horton, who was serving a life sentence, escaped during a weekend furlough and later raped a woman and stabbed her fiancé. The ads are now seen as “one of the most famous examples of racial dog-whistling in American politics,” as Vox put it. And some say Trump’s ad is worse.