DeSantis Uses AI Images to Attack Trump Record on Fauci

AI ad attack comes as Trump is indicted for mishandling classified documents

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

June 9, 2023

2 Min Read

At a Glance

  • The campaign team for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has attacked Donald Trump with an ad featuring AI-generated images.
  • Images of the former President embracing Dr. Fauci boast the glossy texture often found in AI-generated images.

It’s finally happened — a U.S. politician has used AI-generated images in a campaign video to attack a rival.

The team of Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis posted an ad on Twitter that showed former President and election rival Donald Trump embracing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The ad attacks Trump for not firing Fauci, a figure of dislike for much of the political right, alongside clips of his reality show The Apprentice where he routinely fired a contestant each week.

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Fauci has often been portrayed as a villain by rightwing politicians, with conspiracy theories circulating online that he lied about the pandemic and that masks offer protection, in an effort to take control of the government.

The DeSantis ad comes as the Florida governor trails Trump, who holds a massive lead for the Republican nomination, according to polls. The ad was released as Trump was indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home.

While there are authentic images in the collage above, images of the former President embracing Dr. Fauci have the glossy texture that are tell-tale signs of AI generation.

Related:Hyper-realistic AI-generated Images Fool Many

The White House logo that adorns the Press Room also appears different in one image compared to how it looks in reality. The Chief of Staff seal that appears in the Press Room is entirely white - but in one of the images, the flag atop the White House is red, white and blue. You can see the differences below, with the ad even featuring an actual image of the seal, though the flag is cropped out.

Reverse image searches of the images turn up only articles referencing them as AI-generated. However, the apparent genuine images can be traced back to March 2020, when Trump and Fauci would host briefings at the onset of the Pandemic in the U.S.

The ad now boasts a context box on Twitter where readers highlight that some of the images in it are AI-generated.

AI Business has contacted the DeSantis campaign team for comment.

Attacks are nothing new

Using edits of rival candidates is nothing new in political ads. Trump himself frequently posted edited video clips and memes on his Twitter account attacking rivals. One Trump video aimed at Biden was sued for copyright infringement by Electric Avenue singer Eddy Grant. That case is ongoing and could still head for trial.

And while not a political ad, Trump posted AI-generated images of him resisting arrest ahead of his indictment for allegedly paying hush money to adult actress Stormy Daniels.

Read more about:

ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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