As if the topic of AI content isn’t controversial enough, Ron DeSantis‘ campaign brought a heaping helping of politics into the mix by releasing an ad featuring AI-generated images of Donald Trump hugging Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Thanks to his prominent role during the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci has been a bogeyman to conservatives who bristled at the thought of protecting others by wearing masks, getting vaccinated, or simply not eating inside Arby’s for a few weeks. As the governor of Florida, DeSantis routinely bucked any public safety measures during the pandemic, and this latest campaign ad attempts to paint Trump as too cowardly to fire Fauci.
Donald Trump became a household name by FIRING countless people *on television*
But when it came to Fauci… pic.twitter.com/7Lxwf75NQm
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) June 5, 2023
However, the ad isn’t going over well in right-wing circles. Republican Senator J.D. Vance has already condemned the computer generated campaign spot, but without specifically mentioning DeSantis.
“Smearing Donald Trump with fake AI images is completely unacceptable,” Vance tweeted. “I’m not sharing them, but we’re in a new era. Be even more skeptical of what you see on the internet.”
Smearing Donald Trump with fake AI images is completely unacceptable. I’m not sharing them, but we’re in a new era. Be even more skeptical of what you see on the internet.
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) June 8, 2023
Right-wing podcaster Tim Pool also blasted the ad by calling it “complete and utter Biden level scumbaggery.”
Fake images posted by the Desantis campaign used to smear Trump
top left, bottom middle, bottom right
"Real Life Trump"
Complete and utter Biden level scumbaggery pic.twitter.com/z6rH9Fi55Q
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) June 8, 2023
In response to the conservative backlash, Never Back Down, the pro-DeSantis Super PAC defended the campaign ad in a statement to Mediaite: “No campaign has pushed more misleading deepfakes, false photoshops, and outright fabrications than the Trump campaign. It is 100% true that Donald Trump empowered and embraced Fauci — he even gave him a presidential commendation.”