Law | National | Politics | Sports

Pro-Donald Trump group debuts ad about NFL team's racist mascot






Rebuilding America Now on YouTube: Redskins

A political action committee that supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is running a last-minute, battleground-state ad in favor of the Washington NFL team's racist mascot.

The Rebuilding America Now ad debuted on television stations in Virginia, a key state in the election, on Sunday. It stokes fears about a possible name change for the team by linking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to the effort.

"Hillary's priorities are not your priorities," the ad proclaims to an all-White, all-male group of football fans whose game day was ruined by the mere appearance of Clinton on their television screen.

Clinton indeed called the NFL team's name "insensitive" in an interview on Fusion back in 2014. That view is also shared by President Barack Obama, prominent Native activists, nearly every major Indian organization and tribes across the nation.


The Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center is located in Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Washington Redskins

But with 13 electoral votes at stake, both campaigns are making heavy plays for the vote in a state where the NFL team enjoys a large fan base and where it maintains a training facility in Richmond, the capital. Polls have consistently shown Virginia leaning toward Clinton, according to RealClearPolitics, an outcome Trump doesn't want to accept.

"We are going to win. We are going to have one of the great victories of all time. Of all time," Trump said at a late-night rally in Leesburg in the northern part of the state on Sunday.

Trump himself defended the NFL team's racist imagery in an interview with The New York Times last year. He believes the the name should be left up to the team's owner, Dan Snyder, who has vowed he will "never" change it.

"I know Indians that are extremely proud of that name,” Trump told the Times. "They think it’s a positive."


Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, on the campaign trail. Photo by Hillary for America

Young Native activists don't agree with that assessment and they secured a big victory in 2014 when the team's trademarks were found to be disparaging and were canceled by a federal board. The issue is now being litigated in the federal courts, incidentally, in Virginia.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals was due to hear the case in Richmond in December but has since agreed to delay arguments until the U.S. Supreme Court resolves a closely-related trademark dispute. The Supreme Court is still down one member and the next president will play a big role in shaping its future.

The Change the Mascot movement has drawn support from members of Congress. although Clinton's running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), declined to sign onto a 2014 Senate Democratic letter that called on the NFL to take a stand. But just like Clinton, he believes the name should go away.

"I’m not the owner, but if I were the owner I think I’d make the decision to find a better name," Kaine told a Virginia radio station as he explained why he didn't join the letter. He is spending Monday campaigning in his home state, where he once served as governor and as mayor of Richmond.

Rebuilding America Now is described as a super political action committee that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on the election. It does not have direct ties to Trump's campaign but its mission is to elect the real estate mogul secure victory on November 8.

The PAC was founded in June. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, it has raised $20.3 million and spent $19.2 million as of October 19.

Related Stories:
Navajo veteran who once worked for Trump praises GOP nominee (11/4)
Donald Trump touts Indian Country supporters but offers no policy (11/2)
Navajo Republicans host Trump campaign for event in New Mexico (11/2)
Tim Giago: No one feels honored by racist and offensive mascots (10/24)
Washington NFL team requests delay in racist trademark dispute (10/04)
Supreme Court accepts case linked to NFL team's racist mascot (9/29)
Supreme Court weighs petition in case tied to racist NFL mascot (09/20)
Kiowa player Kendal Thompson lands spot on Washington NFL team's practice squad (09/05)
White House official hires attorney as powwow fight story heats up (08/19)
White House official got into fight at powwow over offensive jersey (08/10)
Football player from Kiowa Tribe not bothered by NFL team's name (08/09)
Unofficial NFL team mascot 'Chief Zee' passes away at age 75 (07/20)
Editorial: Washington school bans NFL team's apparel on campus (06/22)
Amanda Blackhorse: Mascot opponents won't stop despite poll (06/02)
William Ledford: Native support for racist mascot is news to me (06/02)
Peter d'Errico: Mascot poll reflects realities of historical genocide (6/1)
Courtland Milloy: Let's celebrate NFL team's truly offensive past (6/1)
Harlan McKosato: Let's conduct new poll on the racist NFL mascot (5/31)
Raymond Foxworth: Tribal opposition to racist names still matters (5/31)
Jacqueline Keeler: Shameful and skewed poll on racist NFL name (05/26)
Billy Mills: Flawed poll can't justify use of team's racist mascot (5/24)
Richard King: Mascot poll reflects pervasive anti-Indian racism (5/24)
Tara Houska: Mascots hurt Native youth despite results of poll (5/23)
Vincent Schilling: Mascot poll doesn't reflect true Indian voices (5/23)
Washington Post conducts poll on Native views of racist mascot (5/20)
Room for Debate: Trademarks for racist and disparaging names (05/04)
Amanda Blackhorse to deliver Haskell University commencement keynote (04/27)
Washington team asks Supreme Court to hear trademark appeal (4/26)
Original Americans Foundation discloses $3.7M in gifts to tribes (01/15)
Washington mayor courts NFL team but won't use racist name (01/14)
Gregg Easterbrook: Fans shout racial slur on national television (12/08)
Carla Fredericks: Racial slur tied to Sand Creek Massacre (11/16)
Judith LeBlanc: Racial slurs have no place in our society (11/13)
Mary Pember: A confusing and disappointing mascot exhibit (11/11)
Obama takes aim at racist mascots and harmful stereotypes (11/6)
Transcript: President Obama at Tribal Nations Conference (11/6)
Adidas launches effort to help schools with Indian mascots (11/5)
James Giago Davies: Why the R-word controversy won't die (11/04)
Wenona Singel: Racist mascot found at schools in many states (10/16)
New book provides insight into owner of Washington NFL team (10/15)
Tara Houska: A symbol of racism lives on in our nation's capital (10/13)
Editorial: Another loss for Washington NFL team's racist mascot (10/13)
California governor signs bill to outlaw racist mascot in schools (10/12)
Donald Trump doesn't think NFL team's racist mascot should go (10/06)
Republican Jeb Bush defends racist name of Washington NFL team (10/1)
Indian National Finals Rodeo requested $527K from NFL team(09/17)
Harlan McKosato: Another season to fight team's racist mascot (09/14)
Eastern Cherokees disavow any ties to Washington NFL team (09/11)
Indian National Finals Rodeo won't take money from NFL team (09/10)
DC council member doesn't want racist name tied to stadium deal (08/26)
NFL team won't give up racist name in exchange for stadium (08/18)
TV show set in future comes up with new name for NFL team (08/07)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe rejects $25K check from NFL team (8/5)
Native Sun News Editorial: No honor in being called 'Redskin' (07/23)
Virginia governor seems less interested in hosting NFL team (07/22)
Washington NFL team plans to appeal decision in trademark case (07/09)
Judge backs Native youth in battle over NFL team's racist mascot (07/08)