It's been called "the most racially charged national political ad in 30 years." Donald Trump this week released a 53-second online video in which the president featured a Mexican cop killer named Luis Bracamontes.
"It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country," Trump wrote in a tweet prompting the video. The clip itself features on-screen text that tells views, "Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay. Who else would Democrats let in?"
And while many marveled at the ugly demagoguery -- even a handful of Republicans said they were disgusted -- it wasn't long before we realized that Trump's video wasn't just based on racism; it was also based on lies. The Daily Beast explained yesterday:
Bracamontes was first deported to his native Mexico in 1997, during the Clinton administration, after he was busted selling drugs. But, according to U.S. Immigration officials, Bracamontes managed return to the United States by 2001, when he was deported a second time for being in the country illegally. That was during the first year of the Bush administration.Bracamontes was back in America again by 2002.
In other words, a Democratic administration deported him, but he re-entered the country under a Republican administration.
Complicating matters, the Sacramento Bee reported yesterday that Bracamontes was also arrested on drug charges in Arizona in the 1990s, but he was released by then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office "for reasons unknown."
Arpaio, of course, is a far-right Republican, a close ally of Donald Trump, and the recipient of a highly dubious presidential pardon.
The point isn't to characterize Bracamontes' many crimes as a Republican failure. The truth is, he entered and exited the country several times, as the Washington Post noted, he was "deported under both Democratic and Republican presidents." There's no reason to see this through some kind of partisan-food-fight lens.
Rather, the point is that by trying present this through a partisan-food-fight lens, Donald Trump apparently found it necessary to lie to the public.
In case this isn't obvious, when we're dealing with overt racism, fact-checking the details isn't the principal concern. But the fact that Trump lied in the video reflects a degree of contempt for his own followers.
The president seems to think the Republican base will mindlessly swallow any nonsensical red meat he throws its way, especially with only a few days remaining before Election Day. Because Trump doesn't appear to fully respect these voters, he assumes they won't know or care about the truth.
GOP voters shouldn't be motivated by this nonsense; they should be insulted by it.