“The world is laughing at us, at our stupidity,” Donald trump told the Washington Post, in an interview on Sunday. “It’s got to stop. We’ve got to get smart fast — or else we won’t have a country.”
Those comments came as the GOP frontrunner gave the Post an exclusive look at his campaign’s first television spot, which is set to debut on Monday.
Trump has thus far run what one might call an “unconventional” campaign. While rivals spent millions on television ads only to see their poll numbers drop, Trump relied on… well, on being Trump. The bombastic billionaire’s fiery stump speech (which, while short on substance, lacks nothing when it comes to conviction) has resonated with large swaths of the American electorate that are fed up with business as usual inside the Beltway.
With his first ad, Trump is sticking with what’s worked. That is, he’s doubling down on the same controversial messages that have both surprised and captivated the political punditry who now exist in a perpetual state of shock thanks to the fact that Trump is rewriting the rules of what candidates can and should say on the campaign trail. Here’s WaPo with a description of the new spot:
Donald Trump’s ad begins with a shot of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Then comes a U.S. battleship launching a cruise-missile strike. From there it moves swiftly through an explosive montage: The suspects in the recent California terrorist attack. Shadowy figures racing across the U.S.-Mexico border. Islamic State militants.
The narrator, a deep-voiced man, speaks ominously: “That’s why he’s calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States, until we can figure out what’s going on. He’ll 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.”
The spot closes with the image of Trump thundering at one of his rallies, “We will make America great again!”
“Trump has vowed to spend at least $2 million a week on the ads — an amount that will be amplified by the countless times they are likely to be played on cable news and across social media,” WaPo continues, adding that “Trump has six to eight ads in production [which] he hopes will impress upon undecided voters that the country has become ‘a dumping ground.'”
Notably, Trump is doubling down on the Muslim ban message just days after that very same message turned up in an al-Shabaab propaganda video. Of course that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Trump isn’t one to backtrack and hey, “if it aint broke…”
And yet even as short a spot as that described above reveals what certainly appears to be a lack of understanding when it comes to policy specifics. For instance, one cannot “take” Islamic State’s oil. It isn’t theirs for Trump to take. That oil belongs to Syria and Iraq. Additionally, Trump seems certain that Mexico will be willing to fund the construction of a giant border fence. It’s not at all clear why he believes that.
In any event, if Trump’s television spots are anything like his campaign trail rallies, we’re in for some epic trolling of America’s entrenched political aristocracy and also of the liberal media. We’ll close with WaPo’s amusing account of the moment when the final cut of the first ad was played in the candidate’s 26th-floor suite at Trump Tower:
One afternoon last week in the candidate’s 26th-floor suite at Trump Tower here, the fiery depictions of global terrorism flickered on Trump’s face as he stared down at campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s laptop computer to watch the final cut of the ad.
“Play it again,” Trump told Lewandowski, nodding approvingly. “I love the feel of it.”