President Trump is so proud of himself for the assassination of Iran’s top general that he’s using it as a fundraising ploy in hundreds of new Facebook ads.
The ads look like your typical corny campaign spots: a grinning president, pointing at unseen supporters, superimposed on an American flag. But these particular ads from Trump’s page also thank — you guessed it — Trump, for ordering the killing of General Qassem Soleimani last week in Baghdad.
“Thanks to the swift actions of our Commander-in-Chief, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani is no longer a threat to the United States, or to the world,” the ad says. “Take the Official Trump Military Survey TODAY to let me know what you think of my leadership as Commander-in-Chief.”
It’s one of at least 768 self-congratulatory Facebook ads bought by the president’s reelection campaign, according to the company’s public ad archive. The mass celebration of Soleimani’s death is the latest effort in the digital operation that has helped Trump raise gobs of cash from small-dollar donors.
The ads show a triumphant Trump speaking, clapping, and giving a thumbs-up before crowds at campaign events. Users who click on the ads jump to a 10-question survey on the president’s website bearing vapid yes-or-no questions like “Do you think Democrats should spend less time on bogus witch hunts and more time working with President Trump to Keep America Safe?” After completing the survey with their contact information, respondents are led to a page where they can donate to the president’s campaign.
These so-called acquisition ads are crucial as campaigns seek potential voters’ data and money. And Trump has jumped at every possible opportunity to hoover them up via Facebook.
The president’s campaign spent more than $1 million on Facebook ads wishing him a happy birthday. It’s put the first family’s likenesses on thousands of ads and purchased thousands more asking users to sign mysterious cards for the first family on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Valentine’s Day. That comes in addition to jumping into major news cycles to spike the football or complain about media coverage.
Trump isn’t the first president to advertise around a targeted killing. In 2012, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign bought a TV spot portraying him as calm under pressure in the successful hunt for Osama bin Laden. It was part of a larger push to show Obama’s toughness during a hard-fought reelection campaign.
It was a less controversial strike with fewer geopolitical implications. And as the old saying goes, there was also a Trump tweet for it:
Cover: President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up toward members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, after his return from Florida. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)