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Trump campaign image of cop being attacked is actually of 2014 Ukraine



  • President Trump’s reelection campaign released a new Facebook advert showing an image of a group of protesters attacking a police officer, alongside the words: “Public safety vs chaos & violence.”
  • But that photo is actually from a pro-democracy protest in Kyiv, Ukraine, and was taken in 2014.
  • The photographer who took the picture, Mstyslav Chernov, confirmed to Business Insider this is an old photo, and suggested that the Trump campaign was trying to “manipulate public opinion.”
  • The ad came as Trump sent federal officers to quell protests in Portland, Oregon, and has threatened to send more to other Democrat-led cities.
  • The Trump campaign has seized on the ongoing protests in the US as a key campaign issue, with Acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf describing Portland protesters as “violent anarchists.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A new advert for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has used an image of pro-democracy protests in Ukraine from 2014 to show what it called “chaos & violence” in the US.

The ad, published Tuesday, shows a picture of a group of protesters appearing to attack a police officer, who is on the ground, next to a photo of the president listening to assembled police leaders.

“Public safety vs chaos & violence,” says the text underneath.

Trump campaign avdert Ukraine picture

A screenshot of one of the adverts.

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc/Facebook

It published as the Trump administration sent federal officers to quell protests in Portland, Oregon, and has threatened to send more to other Democrat-led cities.

Trump campaign insiders have pounced on the protests as a key electoral issue, as Business Insider reported.  

However, the image used by the Trump campaign does not date from the US, or from this year at all. It was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons — Wikipedia’s public-domain media archive — in 2014 with the label: “A police officer attacked by protesters during clashes in Ukraine, Kyiv. Events of February 18, 2014.”

The photographer, Mstyslav Chernov, confirmed to Business Insider that this was his photo from Ukraine in 2014, and suggested that the Trump’s campaign use of his photo as “manipulation.”

“Photography has always been used to manipulate public opinion. And with the rise of social media and the rise of populism, this is happening even more,” he told Business Insider.

“The only way to combat this is through education and media literacy. When people learn to independently distinguish truth from lies, then the number of manipulations will decrease.”


President Donald Trump gives a press conference on July 21, 2020.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump has used inflammatory language to describe the numerous anti-police brutality demonstrations in the country, which were spurred by the death of George Floyd in late May.

In Portland, where protests have continued for almost two months, he sent federal officers to quell unrest against the wishes of local officials.

Federal agents have used teargas and non-lethal munitions on protesters there. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf described the protesters as “violent anarchists” in a statement on July 16. 

The use of the picture from Ukraine in the Trump ad was highlighted on Twitter by Jesse Lehrich, a former Hillary Clinton spokesperson, who tweeted a screenshot of the advert with the comment: “LOL.”

According to Facebook’s advertising archive, the advert has run three times since Tuesday and has been accompanied by messages designed to appeal to American evangelicals.

“Help ensure pro-life values are represented in Washington for four more years,” reads one accompanying text. 

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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