Rep. Coffman denounces racist Trump ad linking Central American migrants to killer, other major Colorado Republicans quiet

The ad uses language similar to a declaration by a shooter who killed 11 and injured six people in a Pittsburgh synagogue less than a week ago.
5 min. read
Donald Trump at the Western Conservative Conference 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

President Trump on Wednesday revved up his anti-immigrant rhetoric after posting a provocative ad linking an undocumented man convicted of killing two cops to the thousands of Central American migrants seeking asylum and currently making their way to the U.S. border.

Trump's ad shows footage of Luis Bracamontes, who was given the death penalty in April after being convicted of killing two Sacramento-area sheriff’s deputies in October 2014.

In the ad, Bracamontes is seen laughing during court proceedings, with the text “Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people,” and footage of his court outburst claiming he wished he could have killed more cops.

The 53-second ad comes less than a week after a man opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 and injuring six more, after saying “(Jews) were committing genocide to his people.”

It's also less than a week before the midterm elections.

After claiming “Democrats let (Bracamontes) stay,” the ad shows footage of the migrant caravan. It closes with the text “Who else would Democrats let in?” before claiming Trump and Republicans are “Making America Safe Again!”

The ad was denounced and called out by members of the president’s own party.

That includes at least one member of Colorado’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman: “The caravan is a humanitarian crisis of desperate families fleeing poverty and violence and the President’s attempt to demonize them as criminals, in order to create fear among the American people, is simply wrong,” Coffman said in a statement to Denverite on Thursday.

Arizona Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake called the ad "sickening" in a tweet. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a Republican, tweeted that "all Americans should reject this ad and its motives."

CNN on Thursday reported the ad is reminiscent of the 1988 "Willie Horton" campaign ad paid by supporters of George H.W. Bush. Horton was a convicted rapist who committed the crime while under a program overseen by Bush’s Democratic challenger.

Colorado Dems have plenty to say, too.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet: "Next week, Coloradans are able to vote on the type of future they want for our country—whether that’s a United States that is a home to Dreamers who know no other place, or a United States that stokes fear and division in our communities and rips children away from their parents at the border," Bennet said in a statement. "My hope is that Coloradans see past these scare-tactics and elect representatives who will work toward fixing our broken immigration system, securing our borders, and restoring American values."

U.S. Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis: "Neither Republicans nor Democrats are on the side of dangerous criminals." Trump tweeted about Polis Thursday calling him "weak on crime and weak on borders."

"It’s this type of false, divisive discourse that leads to hate and violence," Polis said in a statement sent by his congressional office. "The truth is that reasonable Republicans and reasonable Democrats recognize that we need an immigration system that not only honors the rule of law, but also the inherent dignity of individuals and families. In Congress, I’m proud to have worked on several bipartisan immigration bills that are both compassionate and enhance border security."

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, representing Denver: The ad and "others of its ilk should be pulled before any more damage is done.

“Here’s what’s outrageous: President Trump dangerously stokes the fires of division and hatred in this country with tirades that some may take literally as license to act," DeGette said in the statement. "This is part of an effort to energize the GOP base before the November elections by attacking Democrats in the most inflammatory and untrue ways, using dog-whistle tactics that appeal to racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia."

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter: “Words matter and I am very concerned about the inappropriate and down right dangerous rhetoric and actions coming from President Trump and his Republican allies.

"As elected leaders, we have a responsibility to speak and act in a respectful manner and we are not seeing that from some, and especially not from President Trump."

We’ve reached out to all members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who has been an ardent supporter of President Trump. Gardner's office did not respond to two requests for comment on Thursday.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, who Trump vociferously endorsed in Colorado's gubernatorial race again via tweet today, did not respond to two requests for comment on Thursday. The messages were sent to his campaign spokesperson. A scheduling email from the Colorado Republican Committee showed Gardner was in Colorado stumping for Stapleton on Thursday.

The offices of U.S. Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Scott Tipton also did not respond to requests for comment.

A call and message sent to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, where Gardner serves as chairman, was not immediately returned on Thursday morning.

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