Donald Trump has managed to lead the Republican presidential race for months without running a single television ad. Now, with a few weeks left before the Iowa caucuses (where Trump is polling slightly behind Sen. Ted Cruz), he's finally taking to the airwaves — spending $2 million a week on TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. And this is his first ad:
The ad's script, as transcribed by CBS News:
TRUMP: I'm Donald Trump and I approve this message.
ANNOUNCER: The politicians can pretend it's something else, but Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism. That's why he's calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what's going on. He'll quickly cut the head off ISIS and take their oil. And he'll stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our Southern border that Mexico will pay for.
TRUMP at rally: We will make America great again.
This is basically a "greatest hits" of the Trump proposals that have drawn the biggest outcries — not just from liberals and the media but from the Republican establishment. Trump's promise to "make Mexico pay for the wall" has been mocked by Jeb Bush; his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States was condemned not just by Bush but by Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio, at last month's Republican debate.
Trump's campaign appears to believe that this is what Republican voters really love about their candidate: that he's willing to do things in the name of protecting America that even other Republicans think go too far. This has been part of the Trump campaign from the beginning. But there were certainly other themes the campaign could have drawn on in its first ad to depict Trump as the truly independent candidate: talking about his success as a businessman, or hyping up his independence from wealthy donors or special interests. It's certainly worth noting that the campaign gravitated to the things that people who aren't Donald Trump fans are most likely to find offensive.