Trump Campaign Running Facebook Ads with Racial Slur

Image from an ad where President Donald Trump uses a racial slur to refer to Senator Elizabeth Warren
Screenshot: Donald J. Trump 2020 Campaign/Facebook

President Donald Trump’s official Facebook page has been running a series of ads that feature an anti-Native American slur, according to the social media company’s archive of political ads. Trump can be heard referring to Senator Elizabeth Warren by the name “Pocahontas” in the ad, which started running on October 11.

President Trump has repeatedly called the Democratic presidential candidate “Pocahontas” at White House functions and on Twitter, a reference to Warren’s claim she had Native American ancestry, for which she has apologized. But this might be the first time a racial slur has been used by a major political candidate in paid ads.

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The Trump ad, voiced by the bumbling idiot himself, is a Greatest Hits of the president’s extreme rhetoric. Trump talks about “phony polls,” “haters,” and refers to journalists as the “enemy of the people,” language that continues to put members of the media at risk.

But even putting Trump’s other neo-fascist language aside, his use of an anti-Indigenous slur is still jarring for anyone who hasn’t been completely desensitized to the Trump regime’s racism.

“If I hadn’t wont the 2016 election, we’d be in a Great Recession right now, I have little doubt about it,” Trump can be heard saying in the Facebook ad. “Democrats like Sleepy Joe Biden, Crazy Bernies, Pocahontas, and the rest, will lead us into an economic sinkhole, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.”

Native American leaders have repeatedly condemned Trump’s use of the slur, especially when he invokes acts of genocide against native peoples as a punchline.

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“If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash,” Trump tweeted in January, as just one example of many.

The racist Facebook ad comes on the heels of the company’s increasingly combative relationship with the political left. CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently told employees that his company would sue the U.S. government if people like Elizabeth Warren tried to break up Facebook on antitrust grounds. And it was revealed by Politico just yesterday that Zuck has been meeting with conservative lawmakers and pundits about alleged “anti-conservative bias” on social media.

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Zuckerberg, who is schedule to speak at Georgetown on Thursday at an event called, “A Conversation On Free Expression,” even met with the white supremacist host Tucker Carlson of Fox News, a man who often complains about immigrants and has said they make the U.S. “dirtier.” Many advertisers have pulled out of Carlson’s show in the past year over his extreme language, but he’s still on TV for some reason. Carlson has also condemned Twitter in recent days, saying that the company is dividing America in a particularly ironic accusation from a Fox News host.

Zuck met with President Trump himself in the Oval Office last month, though we have no idea what the two men talked about. White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino, Jared Kushner, and Facebook’s Joel Kaplan were also in on the meeting.

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President Trump and other rightwing extremists have consistently spread conspiracy theories that social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are working against them. But, if anything, it’s become clear that Facebook is working in the interests of Republican politicians to make enormous amounts of money and to maintain the power that they currently wield. Zuckerberg called Senator Warren an “existential threat” to Facebook, words that he hasn’t used after people like President Trump rail have spoken out against the social media giant.

Facebook’s press team did not respond to questions about President Trump’s racist “Pocahontas” ad early Tuesday. Gizmodo will update this article if we hear back.

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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog