If top Republicans in Washington have their way, Alabama Republican Roy Moore won’t be the GOP Senate nominee. President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have both come out for Moore’s chief opponent, Luther Strange.
In the latest salvo, the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by McConnell’s former chief of staff, aired an ad that essentially tells viewers that Moore opposes Trump’s wall along the Mexican border. Here’s the full text:
Male voice: "Who will fight with President Trump to change Washington? Not career politician Roy Moore. He’s on the wrong side of Trump’s border wall."
Video clip of Moore: "I’ll tell you a little secret. Does it take a wall?"
Video clip of Moore: "I don’t think it would take a wall."
Repeats the same clip of Moore: "I don’t think it would take a wall."
Male voice: "Roy Moore. Dead wrong on President Trump’s wall to protect our borders."
Audio clip of Moore: "You can’t build a wall around our country."
This is a case where the individual elements of the ad hold up, but the package deal paints an incomplete picture.
The ad uses video selectively. A good example comes from the rest of Moore’s words at the forum where he said, "I don’t think it would take a wall."
Here’s a more complete excerpt of his remarks:
"I think we need something to stop illegal aliens flowing across our borders, because they are a danger to our republic, a danger to our homes, our families, and we can do something," Moore said at the Wetumpka T.E.A. Party candidate forum on July 31. "I support using federal troops (and the) National Guard to stop this."
A moment later, he continued, "If it takes a wall, we should build it. I don't think it would take a wall. I think we should use the United States military."
In an Aug. 15 radio interview, Moore expressed impatience with the pace of fortifying the border.
"Here we are, waiting since November and nothing’s been done in stopping illegal aliens," Moore said. "It can be stopped within days by the U.S. military ... We need to stop illegal aliens coming in and then, if a wall is necessary and we’ve got the money, we can build it."
Moore’s campaign website says, "We must allow willing states (like Arizona) to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens, and use our own military to protect our border. If a wall is our only option, then we should build it immediately."
Chris Pack, a spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund, said Moore’s stance is at variance with Trump’s position.
"Roy Moore has repeatedly said he doesn’t think we need a wall and that it should be ‘the last recourse,’ or as ‘the last thing we need to do,’ "Pack said. "President Trump, by contrast, has called the wall ‘absolutely necessary,’ ‘so vital,’ and ‘very, very important.’ "
Pack went on to say, "Our ad is simply pointing out that Roy Moore is not with Trump in pushing for the wall."
Advocates of the wall argue that, unlike a military deployment, it would be a barrier that would outlast any change in leadership or policy in Washington.
The Senate Leadership Fund ad describes Moore as being on the "wrong side of Trump’s border wall." Based on that and the clips in the ad, most viewers might reasonably think that means Moore is against a wall. In fact, Moore doesn’t want to wait and would rather deploy the American military immediately to secure the border with Mexico. If after that a wall is needed, he said the country should build it.
What we have is more of a difference on tactics, not overall strategy or outcomes. The ad makes it sound like the gap is more than that.
The ad contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts the would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.
Senate Leadership Fund, Wall, Sept. 14, 2017
Wetumpka T.E.A. Party, Candidate forum, July 31, 2017
WBHP, Roy Moore interview, Aug. 15, 2017
Roy Moore for Senate, Positions, accessed Sept 15, 2017
Email interview, Chris Pack, spokesman, Senate Leadership Fund, Sept. 15, 2017
Email interview, Katie Frost, communications director, Roy Moore for Senate, Sept. 15, 2017
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