Trump Campaign Ads Caught Using Foreign Stock Images to Portray ‘Real Americans’

Trump Campaign Ads Caught Using Foreign Stock Images to Portray ‘Real Americans’
Jin Hyun
July 6, 2019
President Donald Trump has made anti-immigration a large focus of his administration and re-election campaign.
In May, he spoke for roughly 20 minutes on the current immigration system, stating, “Unfortunately, the current immigration rules allow foreign workers to substitute for Americans seeking entry-level jobs. So, foreign workers are coming in and they’re taking the jobs that would normally go to American workers.”
Of course, the President’s claims of immigration leading to the theft of American jobs has been disproved by data figures and several media outlets. In fact, the Associated Press found that, “employment data suggest that the influx of immigrants helps increase overall hiring for the U.S. economy rather than erode job growth. The trend is clear in the government’s monthly jobs report.”
However, President Trump has embarrassingly been caught relying on foreign labor to promote his re-election campaign — specifically, by using Turkish stock images of a hipster and a Japanese coffee shop for his Facebook advertisements.
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One of these such ads features a smiling, bearded man, wearing bright orange suspenders who is described to be “Thomas from Washington”. “President Trump and his family and the administration are in our prayers for strength and wisdom from God Almighty,” Thomas apparently said, at least according to the advert. “God bless.” Hilariously, “Thomas” also calls out the “constant stream of lies from the FAKE NEWS media.”
While the ad makes the bearded man out to be “Thomas” the barista from Washington, it turns out the image was actually taken from a stock photo website under the key words, “Bearded and tattooed hipster coffee shop owner posing,” from GM Stock Films based in Izmir, Turkey.
In addition, the shop supposedly owned by “Thomas” actually turned out to be a stock video image of a watch repair shop in Tokyo. According to Business Insider, the Trump campaign attempted to hide this fact by pixelating images of Japanese store signs in the background.
Journalist Judd Legum investigated this further in his Twitter thread, detailing how the Trump campaign was, “spending significant resources on a highly manipulative online ad campaign designed to make it appear that he has support from key demographic groups,” and as it turns out the case with “Thomas from Washington” was not an isolated incident.
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“One of the demographics that Trump struggles with the most is young women. An online ad being run on Facebook and Google features a young blonde woman named Tracey who is a HUGE Trump fan, apparently,” Legum wrote. “There is one small problem. Tracey is actually a stock photo model. This isn’t a video of a Trump endorser. It’s ‘summer beach beauty walking’ available for purchase on istockphoto.”
Image via Twitter / @JuddLegum
While these advertisements do feature a disclaimer stating, “Actor portrayal. Actual testimonial,” the statement is barely visible and only appears for a split second.
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Similarly, “AJ from Texas” who is supposedly a Democrat turned Trump Supporter, can actually be found on iStock photos under “Mature Man Portrait.” 
For a President that is so vehemently against outsourcing American jobs and constantly criticizing the “fake news media,” his campaign is certainly loaded with irony and hypocrisy.
Featured image screenshot via YouTube / @NBC News
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