That smiling, bearded hipster you might have seen raving about President Trump in a recent Facebook ad — turns out, he’s not from Washington, D.C. — as the ad suggests — but Izmir, Turkey.
The president’s reelection campaign is using free stock video footage to portray his real-life supporters, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday. The MAGA “fans” in the stock footage aren’t even allowed to vote for President Trump if they wanted to, with the models coming from not only Turkey but Brazil and France as well.
“President Trump and his family and the administration are in our prayers for strength and wisdom from God almighty. God bless,” Thomas, the coffee shop hipster mentioned above, says in one ad.
“I could not ask for a better president,” another ad, featuring “Tracey from Florida,” said.
But the people shown on screen never made the glowing remarks. As the 20-second ads mention in a small disclaimer, the videos feature “actual testimonial, actor portrayal.”
“Tracey from Florida” turns out to be a video labeled “young woman smiling and walking at the beach” on iStock by Getty Images; her pictures and videos were taken by Tuto Photos, a French company, as the AP pointed out. “Thomas from Washington” can be found on iStock under “bearded and tattooed hipster coffee shop owner posing.”
White House reps did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
“As a producer, you want to control — you want people to look a certain way and you want them to sound a certain way,” Jay Newell, a former cable TV executive and current professor at Iowa State University, told the AP. “The fact that the footage is from outside the U.S. makes it that much more embarrassing.”