There’s a swastika in John James campaign video (w/updates)

It’s not often that I am surprised by something I see in a political ad.

But today, my jaw dropped.

There’s a swastika in the video ad for John James, the pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-business conservative Republican who is challenging Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

James will also keynote the Livingston County Republican Party’s annual fall Reagan Day Dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018.

The swastika is posted on a bulletin board inside a building that is used to illustrate “failing schools.”

Well, hell, yes, that’s a failing school if it allows a swastika to be displayed. We all know Nazis are bad, don’t we?

The swastika also raises some questions.

1. If this was filmed inside a Michigan school, someone needs to tell the principal there that there’s a swastika on the wall in one of the hallways. And if there’s a swastika on display in the hall of a Michigan school, why didn’t anyone working on this ad or someone from the John James campaign notice it?

2. If this was filmed somewhere made to look like a hallway of a Michigan school, who put the swastika there?

See for yourself. The swastika appears 11 seconds into the ad.

We’ve reached out to the John James campaign several times today via phone and social media and have not yet received comment or contact.

A story in the Oct. 15, 2018, Detroit Free Press said: “James’ campaign didn’t respond directly to a question from the Free Press about whether the producers of the ad had noticed the swastika and whether it was intended to carry any message, instead calling the mention of the image ‘a desperate attempt to divert attention’ in the campaign.

“(U.S. Sen. Debbie) Stabenow (D-Mich.) and her allies will say or do anything to get her re-elected,” said James’ campaign manager, Tori Sachs.

The campaign is expected to rotate in a new ad in place of “Ready to Serve” beginning Tuesday.


A story in the Detroit News said: “Republican challenger John James apologized Monday for a ‘terrible mistake’ — the appearance of a swastika in footage included in his recent Senate television ad. … (T)he campaign said it was from stock footage.”


This is the stock footage used in John James’ campaign ad.


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Journalist Maria Stuart worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. These days, she runs The Livingston Post.