Fox News, NBC and Facebook have pulled a Trump campaign ad branded racist, which equates a convicted Mexican murderer with Central American migrants en route to the US border.
NBC pulled the ad after coming under fire for showing the commercial during the widely watched “Sunday Night Football” program ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, which are seen as a referendum on Trump, who vows to curtail immigration.
“After further review we recognise the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible,” NBC Universal said in a statement.
Fox News, the US president’s favourite television network and often considered favourable to his administration, confirmed to AFP that it had removed the ad and that it would no longer appear on either its news or Fox Business channels.
Facebook said the ad “violates” the social network’s advertising policy against sensational content. “We have rejected it. While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution,” it said.
The Trump campaign released the ad last week. Questioned about it on Monday, the US president pleaded ignorance. “I don’t know about it,” he said. “A lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive.”
The ad opens with footage of a grinning Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican criminal sentenced to death for killing two police officers in California in 2014, vowing to kill “more cops” in the future.
The straplines “Democrats let him into our country” and “Democrats let him stay” appear on screen, followed by images of migrants currently travelling through Mexico en route to the US border.
“Who else would Democrats let in?” asks the ad.
The Sacramento Bee newspaper in California reported, however, that records show that Bracamontes was deported before sneaking back into the country – under Republican president George W. Bush.
CNN refused to broadcast the ad from the beginning. “I guess they only run fake news and won’t talk about real threats that don’t suit their agenda,” tweeted the president’s eldest son, urging his followers to vote Republican.
© Thomson Reuters 2018