Pro-Trump political group launches ad campaign to back border emergency declaration

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A political group backing President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election bid will run national television ads this week seeking to bolster support in Congress for his efforts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as lawmakers try to block him.

The America First Policies ad features former Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan, who served under former President Barack Obama, discussing dangers at the border and urging construction of a wall, according to a video seen by Reuters.

America First Policies will spend $250,000 on the ad campaign, which will air on Fox News starting on Tuesday and conclude on Friday, according to Erin Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the group.

The group will also launch a text message campaign aimed at Trump supporters in 31 congressional districts that are represented by a Democrat but where Trump won in 2016. The group hopes to persuade some Democrats in heavily Republican districts to break from their party and back Trump instead.

The U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, plans to vote on Tuesday to try to block Trump’s decision on Feb. 15 to declare an emergency on the border.

Trump took the step to try to circumvent Congress after lawmakers agreed on a bipartisan government spending bill that did not include the money he had demanded to build a border wall, a central promise from his presidential campaign.

The Republican-controlled Senate could vote later this week, and some members of the president’s own party have already indicated they may oppose him.

The America First Policies campaign encourages viewers to call their member of Congress and urge them to support Trump’s emergency declaration.

The group is a so-called Super PAC, which can raise and spend unlimited sums of money on political efforts but is prohibited from coordinating with individual candidates or campaigns, including Trump.