Trump's first general election ad uses Syrians and Mexicans as scare-props

"Syrian refugees flood in," the ad says. "Illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay — skipping the line. Our border open."
August 19, 2016, 2:50pm
A screen grab from Donald Trump's ad.

In case you hadn't caught him on TV already, Donald Trump is now officially running political advertisements. The Republican nominee on Friday released his first general election ad against Hillary Clinton, hitting Trump's reliable notes such as immigration and terror.

"In Hillary Clinton's America, the system stays rigged against Americans," the ad says over blurry images of implied criminals and foreign infiltrators.

"Syrian refugees flood in. Illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay — collecting Social Security benefits — skipping the line. Our border open."

"It's more of the same," the ad says, "but worse."

Then comes the sunlight: "Donald Trump's America is secure, terrorists and dangerous criminals kept out," the narrator says as border guards book suspects on camera. "The border secure. Our families safe. Change that makes America safe again. Donald Trump for president."

Leaning into the national security theme is a classic Republican approach and the Trump campaign knows it works among certain voters still holding out and worried about another terror attack.

But according to polling, and despite his messaging, Trump doesn't own the issue.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll taken this summer indicated that Clinton leads Trump 50 percent to 39 on the issue of terrorism. Americans surveyed said that they believed Clinton would handle a future attack better than him 53 percent to 34 percent and has better policies to prevent them in the first place.

What's more, Trump's numbers dropped across several national polls during the weeks following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in mid-June. Clinton's didn't get any boost, but the idea that Trump would overtake her after the panic and fear of Orlando proved false.

Respondents in the ABC poll also said that Clinton handled the aftermath of that attack much better than Trump, 46 percent over 28 percent.

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