WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign posted an ad attacking Joe Biden on Wednesday that used altered photos to depict the former vice president as "alone" and "diminished."
"Deep in the heart of Delaware, Joe Biden sits in his basement. Alone. Hiding. Diminished," the ad begins.
Photos that appear to show Biden sitting alone on the floor of an empty room, and standing holding his hand to his forehead are included to illustrate the sentiment, along with a list of "crazy far-left ideas" attributed to Biden in the ad.
But reporters on Twitter pointed out that some of the photos in the ad designed to make Biden look "defeated/old" are altered or taken out of context.
Just in case we haven’t worn this point out to exhaustion yet, this wasn’t in a basement in Delaware and Biden wasn’t alone. Some of my pics from that night he visited the home of the mayor of Coralville, Iowa to watch the Hawkeyes game. pic.twitter.com/ZgGiVq5Oij
— Sarah Mucha (@sarahmucha) August 5, 2020
One photo, of Biden seated on the floor in an empty room in front of a reclining chair, is actually from an event at the home of an Iowa mayor to watch a University of Iowa Hawkeyes game in December with several people in attendance, according to The Gazette. The Gazette, which published that photo, said it was edited in the ad to remove the other people in the room and used without permission.
Another, edited to show Biden standing in an empty room holding his hand up to his forehead is actually a shot of Biden holding a microphone while at an outdoor event.
The Trump campaign has frequently used Biden's basement as an attack point, accusing him of doing few campaign events during the coronavirus pandemic and suffering from cognitive decline. Trump dubbed him "Sleepy Joe Biden (who never leaves his basement)" on Twitter.
Biden has hosted virtual fundraisers and townhalls from a basement studio in his Wilmington, Delaware home while he remains socially distanced. He has also been seen in public on several occasions; Biden and his wife Jill Biden paid respects to the late Rep. John Lewis at the Capitol last month.
Deep in the heart of Delaware, Joe Biden sits in his basement.
Alone. Hiding. Diminished. pic.twitter.com/0QVsbp2iis
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) August 5, 2020
Biden's campaign rapid response director, Andrew Bates, in reacting to the altered images in the ad, criticized Trump for "spending his time trying to tear Americans apart and lying" instead of "taking responsibility" for the country's coronavirus response.
"Seven consecutive months of Donald Trump's failed leadership have left the United States the most hard-hit country in the world by the coronavirus — a catastrophe that photo-shop can't erase," Bates said in a statement.
He added on Twitter that "Donald Trump and his campaign have never been fluent in strength or decency," pointing to the final image of Biden used in the ad, which shows the former vice president seated with his head down in a room with shadowy figures. The photo was taken while Biden was praying in a church June 1.
The Trump campaign has previously come under fire for posting misleading information in its ads as social media companies grapple with how they respond to misinformation from political figures, including Trump.
The president has strongly criticized Twitter for flagging some of his tweets with fact checks and for "trending" topics he thinks paint him in a bad light. Twitter also applied a "manipulated media" tag to a post Trump retweeted earlier this year for an edited video of Biden.
Facebook recently took action against a different Trump post, marking the first time it removed a post from the president's personal page for violating its policies on COVID-19 information. The video posted was of a Fox News interview in which Trump said that children are “almost immune” from the virus, breaking Facebook's rules against spreading "harmful COVID misinformation." Twitter also flagged the video on Wednesday, requiring the Trump campaign page to remove the video before it could post again.
The new Trump ad accidentally shows just how few photos/how little b-roll Biden has produced since March. An image meant to make him look defeated/old is of him praying in church! pic.twitter.com/f7F9MNCLve
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) August 5, 2020
COVID-19 misinformation: Facebook, Twitter remove Trump coronavirus posts of Fox interview about kids being 'almost immune'
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump campaign ad includes altered images of Joe Biden 'alone'