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The Trump campaign's Facebook ads promoting ‘invasion’ rhetoric are similar to what the El Paso shooting suspect wrote

Nicole Einbinder , Business Insider US
 Aug 07, 2019, 12:37 PM

In an interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd, Trump offered to open negotiations with Iran with "no preconditions"
  • President Donald Trump's campaign has run 2,200 Facebook ads using the word "invasion" since May 2018, according to the progressive media watchdog Media Matters.
  • The president's rhetoric is similar to an anti-immigrant manifesto that authorities say was written by the El Paso shooter.
  • As of Monday morning,  there have been 22 casualties as a result of the mass shooting in El Paso, with dozens more injured. A separate attack hours later in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


President Donald Trump's campaign has run hundreds of Facebook advertisements over the past year that employ the word "invasion" when referring to immigration, similar to rhetoric flaunted in a manifesto that authorities say was written by the suspected El Paso shooter.

The around 2,200 Facebook ads relying on such language have appeared on the social media site since May 2018, according to the progressive media watchdog Media Matters, which first flagged the posts over the weekend. Business Insider confirmed the 2,200 ads through a search on Facebook's Ad Library Archive.

"We have an INVASION! So we are BUILDING THE WALL to STOP IT. Dems will sue us. But we want a SAFE COUNTRY!" his campaign wrote in a February ad, which specifically targeted older people. "It's CRITICAL that we STOP THE INVASION... I cannot allow America's safety and security to be put at risk any longer."

February Facebook ad
The word "invasion" hasn't just been used in Facebook ads; the president has repeatedly described immigrants as an "invasion" in social media posts and during public statements. For instance, during a rally before last year's midterms, he said that America was threatened by immigrants coming to the border. "You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!" he said.

'This is the language of white supremacy and it goes all the way to the top.'

The hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto believed to be created by the suspected El Paso gunman mimics the president's anti-immigration rhetoric, with the shooter citing a "Hispanic invasion of Texas" and writing that he was "simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion."

As of Monday morning, there have been 22 casualties as a result of the mass shooting in El Paso, with dozens more injured. A separate attack hours later in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people.

Business Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment about the president's use of the term "invasion" in political ads. According to the company's community standards, "we aim to prevent potential offline harm that may be related to content on Facebook," adding that "we remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety."

While the platform has made some efforts over the past year to target content that promotes violence, social media companies continue to face scrutiny for the spread of violent, white supremacist ideologies on its platforms.

During Monday remarks to address the two mass shootings, the president called on social media companies to "detect mass shooters before they strike."

Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retweeted the Media Matters tweet on Sunday night. "Using the words 'invasion,' 'infestation,' w respect to a specific, targeted group of people, implying they are vermin: this is the language of white supremacy & it goes all the way to the top," she wrote. "It's not a matter of political stances. This is stoking hatred+endangering the country."

Several 2020 Democratic contenders have also condemned the president's rhetoric following this weekend's bloodshed. For former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is from El Paso, the violence hit especially close to home. "You know the s*** he's been saying," O'Rourke said, when asked if there was anything Trump could do following the shooting. "He's been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals... I mean, connect the dots about what he's been doing in this country. He's not tolerating racism, he's promoting racism. He's not tolerating violence, he's inciting racism and violence in this country."

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