President Trump rejected Democrats’ accusations Thursday that his latest campaign ad on illegal immigration is similar to the racially tinged Willie Horton ad of a past presidential campaign, and said his team has more potential ads highlighting brutal crimes by immigrants.
“I don’t view it as the Willie Horton ad at all,” the president told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview. “I think it’s just an ad where somebody is a bad guy, came in illegally, twice, and we can’t do that.”
Democrats have attacked the ad as “desperation” from Mr. Trump in the days leading up to the crucial midterm elections. It shows a twice-deported Mexican immigrant laughing in court as he is sentenced in 2014 for killing two police officers, and it blames Democrats’ lax policies on immigration and border security for allowing dangerous immigrants to enter the country illegally and prey upon U.S. citizens.
In the interview, Mr. Trump defended the ad posted on his Twitter feed featuring Luis Bracamontes, who lived in the U.S. illegally. The ad also compares his case to the caravans of migrants moving toward the U.S. border from Central America and blames Democrats for allowing open borders.
Democrats are livid about the ad, comparing it to the “Willie Horton” ad that Republicans ran against Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis in 1988. CNN ran references to the Trump ad during the day, calling it racist.
The ad on behalf of Republican George H.W. Bush three decades ago cited the case of Horton, a black man who was on a release program from prison in Massachusetts when he committed a murder. Mr. Dukakis had been governor at the time.
Mr. Trump agreed that his new ad is tough, “but correct.”
“It’s well-received in some ways,” he said. “Some people think it’s an appropriate ad; some people don’t like it. They [Democrats] let him in.”
The president noted that the ad also showed a migrant in one of the caravans heading to the U.S. telling a reporter he’s hoping for a pardon for murder.
“A lot of people like that in the caravan,” Mr. Trump said. “Perhaps he won’t get it.”
Mr. Trump said his campaign team has numerous similar videotapes of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who have committed major crimes.
“We have a tremendous number of bad tapes. This is just one of them,” he said.
Asked if there will be more such ads, Mr. Trump replied, “Maybe.”
“It adds to the [campaign] argument,” he said. “There shouldn’t even be an argument. You’ve got thousands of people pouring up. The only thing that’s my fault is I built a great economy. They’re coming up for the great economy. We want people to come in. We need workers for all these companies moving into our country.”