U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake condemned a video posted on Twitter late Wednesday by President Donald Trump days before the midterm election, which shows a mashup of videos featuring an immigrant sentenced to death for killing two police officers and text that blamed Democrats for letting him in the country.
The video features Luis Bracamontes, who was sentenced to death earlier this year for the 2014 slayings of two California deputies.
Bracamontes, a Mexican citizen who had repeatedly entered the United States illegally, sits at a courtroom table and says he regrets he didn’t kill more police. Video of what appears to be a caravan of migrants also appears throughout the video, and ominous music plays.
“Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people!,” the video says. “Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay. Who else would Democrats let in?”
In AZ, Trump blasts Dems on immigration, cites ‘bad people’ in caravan
The video sparked outrage among Trump critics, and Flake denounced the video as “sickening.”
Trump is using illegal immigration, the migrant caravan and border security as his closing message to energize Republicans ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Flake likened the new video linking Trump’s pledge to voters during the 2016 election that Mexico would pay fro the wall he wanted to erect along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This is just a deliberate play to the base, it’s not serious,” Flake told The Arizona Republic Thursday. “… It’s a transparent play.”
Flake said Trump is deliberately trying to stoke anger and fear among Republicans with the video, which he called, “a new low.” And he pushed back against Trump’s notion that Democrats oppose border security.
“This notion that Democrats don’t want border security, and that they want open borders is just so wrong on its face,” Flake said. “I’ve reminded him and others the last big vote we had on border security was part of the bipartisan immigration reform act in 2013.”
That major piece of legislation, championed by Flake, the late Sen. John McCain, and other members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” did not become law. It balanced a massive investment in border security with a path to citizenship and an updated visa program for foreign workers.
It passed the Senate by a big margin but stalled in the House, an outcome that McCain blames on the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus.
“It allocated $41 billion — $41 billion for border security … and every Senate Democrat voted for it,” Flake said. “Every one of them. So this notion that the Democrats just want open borders and won’t vote for border security and are the ones that allowed people in any more than Republicans is just wrong. The most the president has asked for is $25 billion.”
Flake also hit a Trump Twitter post about birthright citizenship, which featured years-old C-SPAN video of former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, saying the constitutional right needs to be curtailed.
Before Trump, Arizona state lawmakers tried to end birthright citizenship
Flake responded to that video with a clip of former Republican President Ronald Reagan’s “a shining city on top of a hill.”