RT / Outrage erupted online after the Latino Victory Fund targeted Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie in an inflammatory ad, showing a pickup truck with a Gillespie bumper sticker and a Confederate flag chasing down non-white children. The ad, which was released on Monday, shows a group of minority children running as the truck pursues them. “Run, run, run!” one of the children shouts to the others.
Just as the children become trapped between a fence and the truck, they all wake up from what was actually a nightmare. “Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American dream?” the narrator asks.
The video prompted an angry backlash on social media, including from Gillespie himself. “…This is a new low in politics here (Virginia). It’s a sad day…outrageously, my opponent has embraced it,” he told Fox News, referring to Democratic candidate Ralph Northam.
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Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also chimed in. The Republican commentator said it “just might be the lowest, most repulsive, most unconscionable political ad run since the days when Andrew Jackson was accused of cannibalism.”
© Bush Crime Syndicate / YouTube “It’s meant to depict Gillespie, Donald Trump, and their supporters as evil, racist, white supremacists who drive pick-ups with Confederate flags and use them to chase down terrified minority children and, I’m just guessing here from the context, filet and eat them. It’s absolutely disgusting…you can see it at the link, but I warn you: you’ll feel as if you need a shower afterwards,” said Huckabee.
He added that the ad is particularly insensitive considering recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white supremacist mowed down a protester with his car, killing her, in August. A total of 19 others were injured in the attack.
One social-media user pointed out that just a day after the ad was released, a suspected terrorist plowed down people in Lower Manhattan, killing eight. “This ad didn’t age well,” she wrote.
1 day after Democrats air TV ad depicting right wingers running down people of color and Muslim children a man in a truck attacks New York chanting allahu akbar… this ad didn't age well! #NYCStrong https://t.co/e0NjjhWrBt
— All American Girl (@AIIAmericanGirI) November 1, 2017 Others lambasted the ad for apparent double standards. One user pointed out that, although Democrats accuse Republicans of being “fear mongers,” this ad appears to be doing exactly that.
Democrats claim the @GOP are the fear mongers. But isn't this exactly what ads like this one are in fact doing? https://t.co/VKAInbVe8s
— Michael D(eplorable) (@kf9ug) October 31, 2017 Another said that, although he didn’t vote for Gillespie in the primaries, he will now do so on November 7. “After this ad, I’ll crawl over broken glass to vote for him…” he wrote.
Didn't vote for @EdWGillespie in primary. But after this ad, I'll crawl over broken glass to vote for him on Tuesday https://t.co/3Z718Ud269
— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) November 1, 2017 The Latino Victory Fund apparently agreed with some of the criticism, opting to delete the ad after the Manhattan attack. It said it would be “placing other powerful ads into rotation,” citing “recent events.”
“We knew our ad would ruffle feathers. We held a mirror up to the Republican Party, and they don’t like what they see. We have decided to pull our ad at this time,” Latino Victory Fund President Cristóbal J. Alex said.
Latino Victory Fund Statement: pic.twitter.com/VE8T3N3zI2
— Latino Victory (@latinovictoryus) October 31, 2017 However, the ad did have its fair share of supporters. One Twitter user called it “brilliant” and urged Democrats to keep “hammering this message.”
Just watched the Latino Victory Fund ad in #VAGOV . Brilliant. Dems shouldn't be backing down. Hammer this message! https://t.co/5WzNWFljRQ
— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) November 1, 2017 “Ed’s feelings are hurt. Welp. Maybe don’t be a white supremacist-loving, confederate statue-hugging Trumpist,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Ed’s feelings are hurt. Welp. Maybe don’t be a white supremacist-loving, confederate statue-hugging Trumpist. #VAGov https://t.co/k6KdYaHiWi
— Kimberly A. Woodard (@BeingKimmieToo) November 1, 2017 Gillespie is a former George W. Bush aide and a mainstream Republican, who narrowly defeated Trump supporter Corey Stewart in the June GOP primary.
The Latino Victory Fund describes itself as a “progressive political action committee with the mission of growing Latino political power by increasing Latino representation at every level of government.”