The clip combines a slideshow of undocumented immigrants charged with or convicted of murder with audio of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaking compassionately about immigrants who illegally enter the U.S. to seek a better life.
Bush famously said that people who entered the country illegally were committing “an act of love” because it showed that they cared about their and their children’s future. But Trump, who frequently (and incorrectly) cites anecdotal examples of murders by undocumented immigrants as evidence of widespread lawlessness, sought to use Bush’s comment against him.
“This is no ‘act of love’ as Jeb Bush said,” Trump tweeted, linking to the video.
Journalists immediately drew parallels between Trump’s video, which suggested that Bush deemed murders “acts of love,” and the 1988 George H.W. Bush campaign’s “Willie Horton” ad. That video painted Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis as soft on crime because, as governor of Massachusetts, he created a furlough program that temporarily released an African-American convict named Willie Horton, at which point Horton committed a series of crimes including robbery and rape.
Bush, who entered the 2016 presidential race as the establishment favorite, has seen his commitment to “lose the primary to win the general” tested by a series of attacks from his more conservative rivals. Trump and other Republicans have painted him as a moderate establishment figure unworthy of the party’s nomination, and he has shifted his tone on several issues—including his support for Common Core educational standards—in an attempt to curry favor with the GOP base.
Neither the Bush campaign nor the Trump campaign responded to requests for comment about Trump’s ad.
Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)