Amidst news of him caving to Democrats on other topics, Donald Trump wants his racist supporters to know he's still building the border wall — and he's using his campaign cash to do so.
Donald Trump is desperate to show his most devoted — and most bigoted — supporters that Democratic leaders did not get the better of him on everything, and he is reportedly spending campaign cash to prove it.
Trump and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have been talking about a deal in which passage of immigration reform would be exchanged for spending on border security, but not to finance a useless border wall.
The prospect of the trade-off has enraged conservative Republicans, who realize that the Democratic end of the deal is far more consequential than what Trump negotiated on behalf of the GOP. They were also not happy that they and their leadership were cut out of the proceedings as Trump tries to improve his abysmal ratings by demonstrating he can get something done.
There were also early signs that Trump was aware of a base voter rebellion, as he insisted that the wall he promised on the campaign trail is still coming – even claiming that it had already been built.
Now that disinformation campaign has kicked into a higher gear.
Trump is using campaign funds to buy ads on Facebook to reassure his supporters that the wall is still in the works. The ads — which are running on both Trump and Mike Pence's official campaign accounts, and also soliciting donations — proclaim that he is building "A WALL (not a FENCE)" along the southern border to "help stop illegal immigration."
The ads also complain that "Liberals in Congress and the Fake News media need one more reminder that building the wall is non-negotiable."
Trump – and Russian operatives who wanted to see him win the presidency – ran many ads and campaigns like this during the presidential election. They are visible only on social media networks like Facebook, and don't have the same exposure as print, radio, and television ad buys. They can be highly targeted towards his support base, or people who have shown some sort of interest in related topics.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) recently highlighted the danger of these types of ads, noting, "An American can still figure out what content is being used on TV advertising. ... But in social media there's no such requirement."
The Federal Elections Commission is currently soliciting advice on how to keep track of ads like this.
Trump built his campaign on racist rhetoric invoking images of rapists gone wild thanks to Mexican immigrants, leading to dedicated support for his political ambitions from extremists like former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, as well as the so-called "alt-right," the racist anti-immigration movement led by sites like Breitbart.
Clearly, Trump isn't concerned with the efforts of the FCC right now; rather, he just wants the base that lapped up those hateful remarks to know that he's still on their side — even when making deals to benefit his own political standing.