Trump Campaign advertises with police photo from Ukraine
A new ad for President Donald Trump's reelection campaign used an image of pro-democracy protests in Ukraine from 2014 to show what it called "chaos & violence" in the US.
The ad includes a photo of the president listening to police leaders next to another photo appearing to show a group of protesters attacking a police officer on the ground.
"Public safety vs chaos & violence," the text underneath the photos says.
Trump has sent federal law-enforcement officers to quell protests in Portland, Oregon, and has threatened to send more to other cities led by Democrats. Trump campaign insiders have pounced on the protests as a key electoral issue, Business Insider reported.
However, the image the Trump campaign used is not from the US – or from this year. It was uploaded on Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's public-domain media archive, in 2014 with the label "a police officer attacked by protesters during clashes in Ukraine, Kyiv. Events of February 18, 2014."
The photographer, Mstyslav Chernov, confirmed that this was his photo from Ukraine in 2014.
"Photography has always been used to manipulate public opinion. And with the rise of social media and the rise of populism, this is happening even more," he said.
"The only way to combat this is through education and media literacy. When people learn to independently distinguish truth from lies, then the number of manipulations will decrease."
Trump has used inflammatory language to describe the numerous demonstrations against police brutality in the country that were spurred by the death of George Floyd in late May.
In Portland, where protests have continued for almost two months, federal officers — sent against the wishes of local officials — have used tear gas and nonlethal munitions on protesters. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf described the protesters as "violent anarchists" in a statement last Thursday.
Jesse Lehrich, a former spokesman for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted a screenshot of the ad on Tuesday, adding "LOL."
According to Facebook's advertising archive, the ad has run three times since Tuesday and has been accompanied by messages designed to appeal to American evangelicals.
"Help ensure Pro-Life values are represented in Washington for four more years," one post with the ad said.
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