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The Trump campaign’s latest promise to start airing ads sounds more like another threat against his rivals.


So far, Donald Trump hasn’t spent anything on advertising in the presidential campaign, because he doesn’t have to—he gets plenty of free press by saying words like schlonged. “That is about to change,” Fox News’ Howard Kurtz reports, because “sources in the Trump campaign” say a “major ad blitz” is coming, and it will cost as much as $2 million a week. 

Trump has promised to start airing TV ads before, and they never appeared. “We’re going to start some ads, I think, over the next two days,” he told Fox in November. He did not. But today’s leak to Fox News seems to be less about demonstrating the seriousness of his campaign and more about trying to quiet his critics in the race. “The initial wave of ads will focus on Trump’s vision and his stance on key issues,” Kurtz reports, “but that could change if any GOP rivals target him with negative commercials.” An anonymous adviser warns, “If you attack Trump, he will attack you 10 times as hard.” 

Trump has long been skeptical of ads (unless he is paid to do them, like the stuffed crust pizza ad in the GIF above). In The Art of the Deal, Trump wrote that “a moderately positive one-column story” in The New York Times was “worth a lot more” than a $40,000 full-page adBut Trump is famously thin-skinned. And he’s taken to tweeting warnings to other politicians that unless they were nice to him, they would feel his wrath.