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

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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 Trump’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 Biden, 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.

Tags 2020 campaign ads 2020 election 2020 presidential election America First Action American Bridge Belarus campaign ads Donald Trump Joe Biden Russia stock footage
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