The Trump Campaign Is Using Stock Footage Of Foreign Models And Claiming They’re American Trump Supporters

Donald Trump in a cabinet meeting.
Alex Wong / Getty Images

If you’ve seen Facebook ads claiming that young and attractive people like “Tracey from Florida” are voting for Donald Trump, there’s a good chance that they’re not actually Trump supporters at all — or even real Americans.

As The Associated Press reported, the Trump campaign has purchased stock footage of young models to use in Facebook and other online ads to convince Americans to vote for Donald Trump’s re-election. The footage includes some alluring video of the attractive young men and women with voiceover that explains why they are supporting President Trump. One, identified in the campaign video as “AJ from Texas,” claims that he’s a lifelong Democrat who is now voting for Trump because he believes “a nation must secure its borders.”

As the report noted, AJ from Texas is likely not even American.

“The people in the videos that ran in the past few months are all actually models in stock video footage produced far from the U.S. in France, Brazil and Turkey, and available to anyone online for a fee,” the report noted.

The 20-second videos did contain very small disclaimers saying that the testimonials were real, but that the actors were not. As The Associated Press noted, it seemed to be a strange practice for a president who would likely attack the commercial as “fake news” if it were published by one of his opponents.

The fake portrayal of Trump voters was picked up almost immediately by many in the media, as the company selling the stock footage did so quite publicly. Matching the “Trump supporters” to the models turned out to be very easy for many on social media.

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As the report noted, this is not the first time that Donald Trump has been caught using fake video in his political ads and playing it off as something else. His campaign put out a controversial ad in 2016 showing a wave of immigrants streaming over a border barrier while a voiceover spoke of the need to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants. The footage shown was actually from Morocco.

As Rolling Stone noted, the decision to focus on young voters — especially young women — was likely a very careful decision by the Trump campaign. The report noted that Trump has struggled with women voters, as a poll by The Hill and HarrisX from June showed that 66 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 34 say they “totally oppose” his re-election.