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Trump Facebook Ad Attacks Biden Using Images That Occurred During Trump Era

Other images in the advertisement are deeply misleading, leaving out additional context that would also embarrass Trump.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to guests via video link at an Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition event on April 22, 2023 in Clive, Iowa.

A recent ad created by a super PAC for Donald Trump and shared by the former president’s official Facebook page purports that Americans were “better off” under his watch than they are under current President Joe Biden, depicting a series of pictures meant to stir up feelings of fear and xenophobia in viewers. Some images in the ad, however, supposedly depicting events from Biden’s time in office, were actually from Trump’s presidential tenure.

The ad falsely says that the “border is wide open” and derides high inflation rates that experts have repeatedly said are not attributable to Biden’s policies. It urges viewers to donate to the super PAC.

Images depicting higher gas prices, a surveillance balloon from China, a family of migrants wading in water and a police vehicle set on fire are included in the ad. Juxtaposed front and center in the ad is a picture of Biden.

“Were you not better off before Biden?” asks the post, which was shared by Trump’s Save America PAC on Facebook last week.

According to a basic investigation by Forbes contributor Matt Novak, at least two of the images were from Trump’s time as president, while the other two are highly misleading and lack context.

The image of the police vehicle being set ablaze, for example, happened in Chicago, Illinois, on May 30, 2020 — around eight months prior to Trump leaving office. The action occurred during the uprisings that took place in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black individuals.

The image of the migrant family wading through waters also happened during the Trump presidency. Although the ad implies these individuals were crossing into the U.S., they were actually traveling south, from Mexico into Guatemala, according to the caption on the photo by an Associated Press contributor.

The other two images included in the ad are misleading and taken out of context. The wording of the ad, coupled with the image of the Chinese surveillance balloon that officials recently shot down, for example, is meant to suggest that such a thing would never happen with Trump in the White House again. However, a senior U.S. defense official recently claimed that similar balloons flew into U.S. airspace at least three times while Trump was president, too.

Context is also missing within the portion of the ad depicting a change in gas prices. Gas prices did indeed decline under Trump, but this was not due to any policy he enacted — rather, it was caused by a tremendous decline in demand, brought on by stay-at-home policies that were enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further, most economists agree and have been saying for years that presidents have very little to do with the rising or declining costs of gasoline. Rather, supply and demand changes, which are largely controlled (and manipulated) by oil companies themselves, dictate prices at the pump — a fact that contradicts the implications being made in Trump’s Facebook ad.

The misuse and obfuscation of imagery in political advertising is nothing new. However, it appears that Republicans aim to make misinformation a regular and standard practice in the 2024 presidential election cycle.

Much like the Save America PAC, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has also produced advertising attacking Biden using images that were misleading. After Biden announced he was running for reelection, the RNC put out an ad that depicted a hellish dystopian future — but rather than use actual imagery, the advertisement depended wholly on AI-generated imagery to get its point across.

Both Biden and Trump are considered the frontrunners for their respective parties’ nominations for the 2024 presidential election, setting up a rematch of the 2020 race. Polling suggests the election will be a close one, with a recently published Emerson College poll showing that Biden is ahead of Trump by just 2 points. That number is within the poll’s 2.9 percent margin of error, and 6 percent of respondents in the poll said they are undecided at this time.

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