Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Fix

The one big screw-up in Donald Trump’s first ad

January 4, 2016 at 3:21 PM

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Presidential candidate Donald Trump released his first television ad spot Jan. 4. (Donald Trump)

Donald Trump's super-scary new campaign ad includes a scene straight out of Joe Arpaio's nightmares: A horde of people clambering over and down embankments to make their way across the border illegally.

The scene:

A terrifying documentation of what Trump has been warning us about, to be sure.

You can easily find the location of where this happened on Google Earth, if you look. It's here:

(Google Earth / DigitalGlobe)

But as Politifact noted, there's a catch. That's not the southern border of the United States. It's the western border of a Spanish enclave in Morocco called Mellila. We can zoom out:

(Google Earth / DigitalGlobe / TerraMetrics)

And then zoom out more:

(Google Earth / Landsat)

And then flip it around.

(Google Earth / Landsat)

A terrifying vision of people swarming the border -- just east of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Politifact found some of the original footage from 2014.

Skip ahead a bit and you'll notice that it doesn't look a whole lot like a scene from the Texas-Mexico divide.

Katy Tur of NBC News offers the response from Trump's campaign manager, Cory Lewandowski. (We edited out a swear that rhymes with "Mitt.")


So in other words, this was a warning to viewers, who were meant to understand that the footage was meant as a dystopic vision of the future, not a representation of reality.

And here we thought the footage was shot in New Jersey on 9/11.

Update: No. Seriously. This was meant to show "the severe impact of an open border" and wasn't meant to show our actual border. The biased mainstream media didn't get that, apparently.

We will note, by the way, that there is a wall in the situation shown in the clip, as you can see in the still above. Several walls, actually. We in the mainstream media don't get that, either.

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Presidential candidate Donald Trump released his first television ad spot Jan. 4. (Donald Trump)

Philip Bump is a correspondent for The Washington Post based in New York. Before joining The Post in 2014, he led politics coverage for the Atlantic Wire.

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