Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who has remained atop the polls despite little advertising, is out with the first TV ad of his campaign, a 30-second spot that doubles down on some of his more controversial proposals, including one to temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the U.S.
The “Great Again” spot will begin airing Tuesday in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire -- with a $1.1 million a week buy in Iowa and close to $1 million in New Hampshire, Trump’s campaign said. The ad comes less than a month before the first voters head to the caucuses in Iowa and as Trump increasingly feels competition in the state from a surging Sen. Ted Cruz. He promised last week to “spend big” in the early states, saying he’s prepared to spend at least $2 million a week.
Trump insisted in a statement that he was leading “every poll by wide, double digit margins” and cited “tremendous crowds” and “incredible support from all over the country.”
He said his campaign had spent the least amount of money, but “have the best results and this is the kind of thinking the country needs. I am very proud of this ad, I don’t know if I need it, but I don’t want to take any chances because if I win we are going to Make America Great Again."
The ad, which opens with a shot of Trump at a campaign rally followed by an ominous picture of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, centers on Trump’s call for a bar on Muslims in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings and promises that he’ll “cut the head off ISIS and take their oil” and build a wall at the southern border “that Mexico will pay for.”
Footage of Trump announcing his proposal to bar Muslims surfaced last week in a recruitment video created by the al-Qaeda affiliated militant group, al-Shabab. But Trump said in an interview that aired Sunday that he had no plans to change course.
"What am I going to do? I have to say what I have to say,” he told CBS’s Face the Nation. “And you [know] what I have to say? There's a problem. We have to find out what is a problem. And we have to solve that problem."
Hillary Clinton had claimed during last month’s Democratic presidential debate that Trump had been used in a recruitment video for the Islamic State, but news organizations found no evidence for that claim.
Trump has previously run radio ads in the first three primary states and the campaign says it will continue with a new radio ad this week featuring Kathryn Gates-Skipper, the first female Marine to serve in combat operations. She endorsed Trump at a rally in Sarasota, Fla. in November. Also airing this week, is a new radio ad in South Carolina featuring Nancy Mace, the first female graduate of The Citadel.