President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is using a broken immigration promise to milk money out of vulnerable senior citizens.
A Facebook ad targeting the elderly on Tuesday resurrected a threat Trump made on Twitter last month that Trump himself nipped in the bud.
"Democrats have let the illegal immigration problem get so bad that closing the border may be the only way to protect our families and communities," the ad read. "If Mexico doesn't immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States through our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the border, or large sections of the border, next week."
Trump's ultimatum was initially buried in a tweet storm in which the president blamed Democrats for failing to tackle immigration reform. Nevermind that Republicans, until January, had total control of the federal government for two years.
The DEMOCRATS have given us the weakest immigration laws anywhere in the World. Mexico has the strongest, & they ma… https://t.co/IjgYa675Qm— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1553873030.0
....through their country and our Southern Border. Mexico has for many years made a fortune off of the U.S., far gr… https://t.co/FijV82BAql— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1553873829.0
....the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week. This would be so easy for Mexico to do, but they just t… https://t.co/cLu5v3dG3u— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1553874226.0
This is nothing short of a scam - and an unsurprisingly lazy one at that.
Mexico has not and cannot stop "all illegal immigration," nor is applying for asylum - which many people coming into the United States are attempting to do - a crime. In fact, the US is required by international law to accommodate individuals and families seeking refuge from violence and persecution.
On April 4, however, Trump backed down from his threat, instead giving Mexico a "one-year-warning."
"We're going to give them a one-year warning, and if the drugs don't stop or (are) largely stopped, we're going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular, the cars ... and if that doesn't stop the drugs, we close the border," Trump said.
Then he admitted that shuttering the border will never happen.
"I don't think we'll ever have to close the border because the penalty of tariffs on cars coming into the United States from Mexico, at 25%, will be massive," he said.
Facebook has allowed the deceptive ad to remain active, leaving many to question if the social media giant is serious about cracking down on scams and fake news.
@JuddLegum @Facebook thought you had this covered. What is up with this?— MichelleELanthier (@MichelleELanthier)1555460366.0
@JuddLegum I work with a nonprofit and we tried to run ads to help people in Yemen and Myanmar... Facebook killed t… https://t.co/aUVn84dg49— B.C. Dodge a.k.a #DamnItCarl (@B.C. Dodge a.k.a #DamnItCarl)1555460593.0
@JuddLegum Comments @facebook ?— Don-a-Don (@Don-a-Don)1555460355.0
Journalist Judd Legum, who noticed Trump's latest grift, explained why Trump is preying on old people.
"Older voters are a key target for Trump because they abandoned Republicans in droves in the 2018 midterms," Legum noted on his blog, Popular Information. "Trump won older voters by about 10 points in the 2016 election. In 2018, voters over 65 supported Republicans by just a two-point margin."
Legum, like many of his Twitter followers, criticized Facebook for not upholding its community standards.
"While we know about this activity because Facebook has made political ads publicly available," he wrote, "the company does not appear to be doing anything to prevent deceptive ads from appearing in the first place."
The frustration is real.
@JuddLegum FB is evil. The one thing in which FB is good it is manipulating people minds, discussions, content and… https://t.co/ieWj2sXv48— Mîchā’ēl (@Mîchā’ēl)1555466970.0
@JuddLegum @facebook doesn't care about anyone or anything. @Twitter is no better.— oncegreatnation (@oncegreatnation)1555465467.0
@JuddLegum Older people join Facebook to get pictures of their grandchildren, instead they get propaganda! Gaslighting should be illegal.— Dawn Morgan (@Dawn Morgan)1555473843.0
On Tuesday, Axios reported that the Trump campaign has been disproportionately targeting seniors on social media.
"The Trump campaign is spending nearly half (44%) of its Facebook ad budget to target users who are over 65 years old," Axios noted, "as opposed to Democratic candidates who are only spending 27% of their budget on that demographic, according to data given to Axios exclusively from Bully Pulpit Interactive."
Ben Coffey Clark, a partner at the Bully Pulpit Interactive said that "Trump is making a huge play to hold an advantage he had in 2016 with older white voters. This follows the public statements from the campaign manager that they plan to target and reach all of their voters online, not just cultivate small-dollar donors."
Most senior citizens depend on limited fixed incomes and cannot afford to be swindled by Trump and his team's predatory practices.