President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is wasting little time capitalizing on the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Just three days after the death of the head of Iran’s Quds Force, the president’s reelection campaign began to run hundreds of ads praising Trump for ordering the killing — a decision that had been declined by presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
As of Tuesday, Facebook had taken down a few dozen of the ads, some of which appeared to violate the site’s policy against using fake buttons in ads. Facebook did not respond to a request for clarification.
“Thanks to the swift actions of our Commander-in-Chief, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani is no longer a threat to the United States, or to the world,'' read one ad. “Take the Official Trump Military Survey TODAY to let me know what you think of my leadership as Commander-in-Chief.”
The survey, meant to collect contact information for future outreach, contained questions like “Do you stand by President Trump in his decision to take out the very dangerous Iranian terrorist leader, Qassem Soleimani?” At the end, it asks respondents for their name, zip code, email, and phone number. Those who provided their phone number, according to a footnote, consented to receive texts, automated calls, and phone calls from the president’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee.
The Trump campaign did not return a request for comment. It is typically very active on Facebook, having spent $2.3 million on more than 33,000 different ads over the past 30 days, according to the Facebook ad library report. Active ads about the Soleimani killing, as of Tuesday, made up 590 of those placements at an undetermined cost.
Over the past 30 days, the Trump campaign has far outpaced its Democratic rivals in terms of the number of ads placed on Facebook. The nearest challenger is Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has paid for approximately 14,000 ad placements, followed by billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.