Donald Trump is no longer content to attack his chief rival for the GOP nomination merely over Twitter, on the debate stage, and through his abundant supply of free media. For the first time this cycle, Trump is actually paying money to transmit his message over the airwaves, launching a 60-second assault against Texas senator and “Canadian hypocrite” Ted Cruz.
Trump’s ad opens with Fox News’ Bret Baier telling Cruz that “it sounded like” he wanted comprehensive immigration reform to pass, since he introduced his own amendment into that legislation. Cruz stammers, “Of course I wanted the bill to pass, I mean, my amendment to pass,” and text reading “PRO IMMIGRATION” slides across the screen. Seconds later, Cruz speaks positively of “allowing those who are here illegally to come out of the shadows,” in a 2013 C-SPAN broadcast, and the phrase “PRO AMNESTY” ripples into view. The spot then returns to 2015, where Cruz assures Baier that he doesn’t really support legal status for the undocumented. The words “YEAH, RIGHT TED” fill the screen.
The ad concludes with excerpts of Trump complaining to ABC News that countries have borders but people keep pouring over ours, ergo we no longer have a country.
Trump was no kinder to his former ally in the press release accompanying the ad. “Ted Cruz is a total hypocrite and, until recently, a Canadian citizen who may not even have a legal right to run for president,” Trump wrote. His campaign has told the New York Times that it has ad reservations in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and plans to spend $2 million a week on the campaign.
Cruz’s stance on immigration has, in fact, “evolved” over the past two years. But Trump accusing another candidate of flip-flopping is a little like Jeffrey Dahmer accusing a non-vegetarian of unethical eating. (When Trump mulled a presidential bid in 2000, he proposed the largest tax hike in American history. In 2016, he’s proposing a $12 trillion tax cut.)
Cruz fired back on Friday, arguing that Trump is the one with the unacceptably humane position on the undocumented. “So Donald Trump’s position is, once you deport them, it’s what’s called touchback,” Cruz told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “Basically you make them fly back to their country for a minute, touch the ground, and then they come back with amnesty as citizens.”
Cruz also counterattacked with a 30-second spot targeting the mogul’s support of eminent domain — a concept that the ad defines as “a fancy term for politicians seizing private property to enrich the fat cats who bankroll them, like Trump.” Opening with a clip of Trump telling Fox News, “I think eminent domain is wonderful,” it accuses him of bulldozing the home of an elderly widow in Atlantic City to make room for a limousines-only parking lot. “Trump won’t change the system,” the ad concludes. “He’s what’s wrong with it.”
But that attack should be mitigated by a new endorsement Trump announced Friday morning: At 7:51 a.m., Trump retweeted this supportive message from Twitter user “@WhiteGenocideTM,” a self-described resident of “Jewmerica” whose bio links to a hagiographic documentary about Adolf Hitler.
Just 178 more days till the Republican convention.