My faith in the rectitude of the NRA is not strong. So while I would like to give the organization the benefit of the doubt and hope that this new anti-Clinton-slash-pro-Trump NRA ad wasn’t filmed in a military cemetery, as it definitely appears to be, I am not super optimistic. The ad, released Wednesday by the NRA’s Political Victory Fund, is a Benghazi propaganda fest starring Mark Geist, one of the half-dozen military personnel from the Libyan catastrophe in 2012. It depicts him both inside and outside the grounds of an unnamed but undeniably military-looking cemetery. I guess there’s still a chance it could have been filmed on an elaborate set or something, but that’s sure not the way it seems right now.
The government restricts such areas from filming, based on the eminently reasonable idea that hijacking the dead for partisan crap is not an OK thing to do. Bustle has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment. The NRA has not yet named the location, claiming only that it was filmed outside the cemetery, not inside, even though the ad includes unmistakable shots of Geist walking among the tombstones. It’s been a weird few weeks for the NRA, what with the Trump infighting and all. If it was trying to get its groove back by making a brazen, attention-getting move, it picked a staggeringly disrespectful way to do it.
“A lot of people say they’re not going to vote this November because their candidate didn’t win,” Geist says as action movie music gets you pumped up for all the hypocrisy and grave-trampling. “Well, I know some other people who won’t be voting this year either.” At this juncture, the camera cuts helpfully to a bunch of tombstones, in case you didn’t get where Geist was going with this — or perhaps if you still thought the NRA still had a few remnants of tact, respect, or grace. “Hillary as president? No thanks. I served in Benghazi,” Geist intones over images of war zones and mangled American flags. “My friends didn’t make it. They did their part. Do yours.”
A representative for the Department of Veterans Affairs told ABC News that the VA’s National Cemetery Administration never received any filming requests, and that any such request would have been categorically denied.
“As always, our veterans, their families and survivors are our top priority,” said VA rep James Hutton. “To maintain the sanctity and decorum of VA National Cemeteries as national shrines, our filming policy states that filming may not be used for the expression of partisan or political viewpoints, or for uses that are (or may be interpreted as) an endorsement of a commercial entity.”