Trump Camp Ad Urging ‘Support Our Troops’ Features Russian Fighter Jets

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07: U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions after delivering remarks during a news conference at the North Portico at the White House on September 07, 2020 in Washington, DC. After med... WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07: U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions after delivering remarks during a news conference at the North Portico at the White House on September 07, 2020 in Washington, DC. After media reports this past week that recounted Trump allegedly disparaging fallen soldiers, the president today attacked Democratic rival Joe Biden as inadequate to the job as polls continue show Biden leading nationwide, though with a gap that appears to be narrowing. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 15, 2020 11:38 a.m.

Third time’s the gaffe?

An ad released by the fundraising arm of the Trump campaign on Sept. 11 that urges the public to “support our troops” ironically uses a stock photo featuring Russian-made fighter jets and weapons.

According to Politico, the digital ad — which was produced by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee and ran between Sept. 8-12 — shows silhouettes of three soldiers walking as a fighter jet flies over them.

“That’s definitely a MiG-29,” Pierre Sprey, who helped design both the F-16 and A-10 planes for the U.S. Air Force, told Politico as he cited aspects of the aircrafts design that are specific to the plane models. “I’m glad to see it’s supporting our troops.”

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, confirmed to Politico that the planes in the ad are Russian MiG-29s. Pukhov added that the soldier on the far right in the ad wields an AK-74 assault rifle.

The image in the ad produced by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee — which is run by both the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign — uses a stock photo available on Shutterstock.com with the title “Military silhouettes of soldiers and airforce against the backdrop of sunset sky.”

The creator of the image, Arthur Zakirov, confirmed to Politico in a Facebook message that it shows a 3D model of a MiG-29, and that the soldiers were Russian models. According to Politico, Zakirov said it was a composite photo created five years ago and taken in three different countries showing Russian sky, Greek mountains and French ground.

“This is a completely recreated scene from various photographs of mine,” Zakirov, a 34-year-old oil company analyst and hobbyist photographer based in the Russian city of Perm, told Politico.

“Today you hear about the Kremlin’s hand in U.S. politics. Tomorrow you are this hand,” Zakirov jokingly told Politico, before going on to mention that he finds the use of his photo in a Trump fundraising ad “pretty funny.”

“Everything happened through inattention,” Zakirov told Politico, and added that the campaign had “bad fact-checking.”

The Trump campaign and RNC did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.

This isn’t the first time that the Trump campaign has issued ad featuring images from outside the country.

Last July, amid the President’s vehement opposition to removing monuments and bases paying tribute to Confederate generals, the Trump campaign launched ads that promised to protect a statue — in Brazil.

The Trump campaign also released another an in July that misleadingly featured an image of pro-democracy protests in Ukraine taken in 2014 amid the Trump administration’s deployment of federal troops to quell protests in Portland, Oregon.

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