A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Jolly, Trump Photos Are Fake


Some voters may be misled by a Democratic TV ad that uses fake images, marked “dramatization,” of Republican Rep. David Jolly and Donald Trump shaking hands and appearing together.

Jolly, who is running for reelection in Florida’s 13th Congressional District against former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, said that he has never met Trump and doesn’t plan to vote for him for president. Jolly’s campaign lawyers have asked local TV stations to stop airing “a patently false advertisement.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is behind the 30-second ad, has argued that the fake images include a disclaimer, and it has told TV stations to ignore the request from Jolly’s campaign.

The DCCC’s ad is called “Imagine.” As the narrator asks viewers to “imagine David Jolly in Congress, supporting Trump’s dangerous agenda,” images are shown of Jolly either standing next to Trump or sitting beside him. Later in the ad, an image is shown of Jolly shaking hands with Trump, as the narrator again says: “Imagine Donald Trump as president and how dangerous he would be with David Jolly supporting him in Congress.”

As the visuals appear on screen, the word “dramatization” is shown in small type on the lower left side, indicating, according to the DCCC, that the images of Jolly and Trump together aren’t real. The ad also features fake photos of Trump being sworn in as president and shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Analyzing the ad closely on our computers, we could tell that most of the photos weren’t real. For example, we paused on the images of Jolly and Trump in what looks like the East Room of the White House, and both of their heads appear too large for their bodies. The same can be said of the photo of Trump on the airplane.

But the fact that the images have been manipulated may not be obvious to those watching the ad on TV and unable to freeze it for a closer look. They may also miss the “dramatization” fine print.

Jolly Said He’s Not Voting for Trump

As we said, the ad tells voters to ponder the thought of Jolly and Trump working together on “Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda.”

“Just like Donald Trump, David Jolly wants to outlaw a woman’s right to choose,” the narrator says. “David Jolly even led the Republican effort to defund Planned Parenthood.”

It’s true that both Trump and Jolly support restrictions on abortions and want to deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions. While Jolly has said he’s opposed to abortion but favors exceptions in cases of health issues for the mother, Trump has said that he supports exceptions for that reason and in cases of rape and incest.

But Trump and Jolly aren’t on the same page in other ways.

It had been unclear if Jolly, who had been critical of Trump and did not endorse him for president, would even vote for his fellow Republican on Nov. 8. In September, the web-based Sunshine State News quoted Jolly saying, “If the election were today, I would not support Donald Trump.”

That changed on Oct. 7 after the release of a 2005 recording of Trump talking about making unwanted sexual advances on women.

“I’m not voting for him,” Jolly said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “A man who brags about sexual assault isn’t qualified to be president of the United States,” Jolly told the paper through a spokeswoman.