Not surprisingly, the backlash was swift and focused, with the general consensus being that president Trump had ripped a page out of George H.W. Bush's book by channeling the infamous Willie Horton ad; a video that's always haunted Bush Sr.as a moral low point in his political career.
Writing in the Washington Post, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin scalded GOP leaders for standing by while President Donald Trump ramps up anti-immigrant hysteria and racism, before calling out the Fox News network for acting as his megaphone. It includes scenes of a migrant caravan moving toward the USA, warning ominously, "Who else would Democrats let in?" and suggesting that more violence would soon penetrate the border.
"Willie Horton was devastating to Mr. Dukakis", the New York Times wrote in 1990, citing the smear campaign as a success for Bush Sr.
Bracamontes' expletive-filled rant about killing police officers also appeared in a little-noticed January 2018 Trump campaign ad.
"This is a sickening ad. Republicans everywhere should denounce it", said Republican Sen. Thirty years later, critics say Trump is hoping the same sort of propaganda will work for him, although his approach is clearly not much better.
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called the new ad the "dog whistle of all dog whistles". For instance, Mitt Romney - who hired the team behind the Horton ads in his 2012 campaign against Barack Obama - was accused of playing into similar racial fears in advertisements attacking the president's health care and welfare policies.
"This is distracting, divisive Donald at his worst", Perez said on CNN's 'Cuomo Prime Time.' "This is fear mongering".
Bracamontes, an immigrant living in the country illegally, sports a shaved head and long chin hair and speaks in accented English in the video, and his words are clear: He's killed cops and he's "gonna kill more cops soon". The man also featured in a January video tied to the anniversary of Trump's January 20, 2017 inauguration. He had been deported twice before his killing spree.