Donald Trump’s first television ad has earned him his latest “Pants on Fire” rating from the fact check group, Politifact, which found that footage used in the spot to presumably illustrate the border between the United States and Mexico was actually shot “5,000 miles away, in a small Spanish enclave on the mainland of Morocco.”
The 30-second “Great Again” spot is poised to begin airing Tuesday in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire as Trump pledges to spend at least $2 million a week on advertising amid polls that show Sen. Ted Cruz rising in Iowa.
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, promises that Trump will "stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our southern border that Mexico will pay for."
The video footage accompanying those words shows dozens of people streaming across a border, Politifact notes, “as if they were ants fleeing an anthill.” The fact check group, however, found the footage was posted in May 2014 by the Italian television network RepubblicaTV and features Moroccans crossing the border into Melilla, one of two enclaves on the Moroccan coast that are held by Spain.
Trump’s campaign insisted the Morocco-not-Mexico footage was no mistake.
"The use of this footage was intentional and selected to demonstrate the severe impact of an open border and the very real threat Americans face if we do not immediately build a wall and stop illegal immigration,” the campaign said in a statement. “The biased mainstream media doesn't understand, but Americans who want to protect their jobs and families do."
NBC News said Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski put it more plainly: "No sh-- it's not the Mexican border, “ he said. “But that's what our country is going to look like. This was 1,000 percent on purpose.”
Politifact did not change its ruling, saying “most viewers -- in the context of the ad and Trump's past statements -- would conclude that it shows the U.S.-Mexico border, not a border in Africa.”
And it didn’t stop an emerging Twitter meme.
(Politifact last month bestowed its “Lie of the Year,” on Trump’s campaign, a designation it reserves for what it says is the most egregious political falsehood of the year.)