Pro-Trump campaign ad uses stock footage from Russia, Belarus

A pro-Trump campaign ad released last week in three battleground states used stock footage from Russia and Belarus.

America First Action’s ad represents the fourth ad in favor of President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE’s reelection to have used footage from Russia within a three-month period. The $10 million advertisement titled “Pandemic Tax” was released last Thursday in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Politico first reported the ad uses stock footage from Russia and Belarus Tuesday evening.


The ad criticizes Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenMilitary must better understand sexual assaults to combat them The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE, asserting that he will raise taxes “on all of us” if elected president.

After that, the screen shows footage of new parents holding up a baby in front of a window with the caption “HIGHER TAXES ON EVERY INCOME GROUP.” 

The video clip called “Man And Woman Playing With Baby Near The Window” can be purchased on Pond5 for $65, Politico reported. The user who submitted the footage, Kmikidov, also sells the clip on Shutterstock

On Shutterstock, Kmikidov’s profile links to a Facebook page of Konstantin Mikidov who labels his location as Novosibirsk in Siberia. 

The clip directly after that displays an elderly woman looking out the window, with the ad adding the phrase “HIGHER TAXES ON MIDDLE CLASS RETIREMENT.” The footage named “Old Woman looking Out The Window Stock Video” is sold for $60 on iStockphoto

The user who uploaded the clip “Zdyma4” has a profile on Dreamstime, which identifies the user as Viachaslau Rutkouski, who says on LinkedIn that he is in Belarus. 


Kelly Sadler, a spokesperson for America First Action, told The Hill that the group has also “used footage taken in China in multiple ads.” She sent two videos, one of Biden speaking at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China and an America First ad using video of the former vice president in China. 

Max Steele, a spokesperson for the pro-Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, alerted Politico to the Russian footage, saying “Clearly they trusted but did not verify the stock footage.”

The America First ad marked the fourth time in three months that Russian footage was used in a pro-Trump ad. An ad released by Trump’s campaign last month showed a stock photo of Russian-made fighter jets and weapons, while encouraging the public to “support our troops.”

A different campaign ad for the president utilized video of a conveyor belt with cardboard boxes  along with the digitally superimposed label “MADE IN USA,” The Daily Beast reported. A clip shown at the Republican National Convention also featured stock footage of a Moscow factory, according to American Ledger.

--Updated on Oct. 14 at 2:59 p.m.