Trump has so far purchased $4 million in ads
He's still likely to be outspent by Clinton
In his long-awaited first general election TV advertisement, Donald Trump is arguing that he can keep America safe from the scourge of undocumented immigrants, unvetted refugees and terrorists.
The ad, which begins airing this weekend, puts an end to an unprecedented advantage for Hillary Clinton in television spending. Trump waited to begin airing spots until after the conventions, though he and his allies are likely to still be outspent over the next two weeks by forces aligned with Clinton.
Trump’s campaign as of Friday had secured about $4 million in television time in four states to air over the next 10 days: $1.4 million is reserved in Florida; $985,000 in Pennsylvania, $830,000 in North Carolina and $745,000 in Ohio, according to data from CMAG/Kantar Media, a company that tracks political advertising.
The campaign said the total purchase would equal $4.8 million. It will not include any spending in Virginia, though a campaign adviser said earlier this week that it planned to do so.
A more vigorous Trump purchase is not expected until September.
Trump in the spot, “Two Americas: Immigration,” seeks to fuse his argument that he is a change-maker with his ability to protect the homeland.
“In Hillary Clinton’s America, the system stays rigged against Americans,” the grainy spot begins, alleging that Clinton would allow dangerous refugees from Syria and criminal illegal immigrants to roam the country. “Our border open, it’s more of the same – but worse.”
“Donald Trump’s America is secure. Terrorists and dangerous criminal kept out. The border is secure. Our families, safe,” the second-half of the ad says. “Change that makes America safe again.”
A Clinton campaign spokesman said the ad showed that Trump did not indeed have “regrets” for his more controversial comments, as he suggested he did at a rally Thursday evening.
“In case you thought for a split-second Trump was genuine about feeling regret, he is back to demonizing immigrants again in his new ad today,” Brian Fallon, the spokesman, tweeted.
Trump has been bolstered on the air this summer primarily by two outside groups: The National Rifle Association and Rebuilding America Now, a pro-Trump super PAC. Together, the campaign and the groups are slated to air $7.9 million in television advertisements in those four states over the two-week period.
Even as Trump begins to compete on television, he will still be outpunched by Clinton and her supporters: Her campaign and super PACs are scheduled to air $12.8 million in those four states – plus the time they’ve bought in other states that Trump has so far passed on contesting on television.