A series of political ads from two far right groups have aired in battleground states across the country in the final week of the 2022 midterm season, featuring false and incendiary rhetoric about gender-affirming care for trans children and supposed racism against white people.
The radio ads call on listeners with far right extremist views to vote against Democrats in next week’s elections, and include white nationalist and anti-LGBTQ dog whistles.
The two groups are airing ads in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Colorado, Michigan and Nevada, according to The New York Times.
Both groups have ties to former President Donald Trump. America First Legal is a political action committee started by Stephen Miller, a former Trump advisor who helped craft numerous anti-immigrant policies while in the White House. The second group, Citizens for Sanity, includes among its board of directors at least three former Trump administration officials — Gene Hamilton, Ian Prior and John Zadrozny — who also have connections to America First Legal.
In one ad from America First Legal, a narrator accuses the Biden administration of engaging in “anti-white bigotry.” The ad makes false claims about President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris giving preferential treatment to nonwhite businesses and placing people of color ahead of white residents when it comes to coronavirus vaccines and treatments — claims that have been widely debunked by fact-checking websites, according to Politico.
“When did racism against white people become okay?” the narrator asks.
Another series of ads from the organization spreads lies about gender-affirming care for transgender children in order to shock and enrage listeners, accusing Biden and Democrats of wanting to “remove breasts and genitals” of children. The ads also claim that left-leaning politicians are “push[ing] girls to take testosterone so they grow facial hair.”
The ads from Citizens for Sanity pushed similar lies, falsely stating that gender-affirming care for trans kids is irreversible and results in sterilization.
In reality, no one is pushing children into receiving gender-affirming care against their will — and most types of gender-affirming care for trans children simply involve therapy, with some children being allowed to use safe, reversible puberty-blocking medication with their doctor’s approval in order to offset unwanted changes in their bodies. Medical guidelines also state that trans children should not have surgery on their genitals to coincide with gender-affirming care, contrary to what the ads claim.
Miller is no stranger to pushing unfounded and bigoted ideals. While working in the White House, he encouraged right-wing media to publish stories about the “great replacement” theory, an errant idea among white nationalists that global elites are seeking to saturate countries that have historically had a majority white population with a majority of people of color. Miller was also the architect of many racist Trump administration policies, including the child separation policy for immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border as well as the ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries that was introduced early on in Trump’s tenure.
“Through the conscious use of fearmongering and xenophobia, Miller implement[ed] policies which demonize immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, in an apparent effort to halt all forms of immigration to the United States,” the Southern Poverty Law Center says in their profile of Miller.