Donald Trump just got caught blatantly using the Phoenix Police Department to promote himself without their permission. Not that anyone is shocked, but Phoenix has demanded that Trump take down the ad that uses uniformed, on-duty officers to make it appear that they support Trump.
According to NBC News:
Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm said in the letter that those cops are Phoenix police officers, who “were unaware that they were photographed and videotaped, and they did not consent to the use of their on-duty images in any Trump (or other) campaign advertisement.”
Donald Trump released an ad entitled “movement,” in which he uses the likenesses of several officers who were not aware they were being filmed, nor gave their permission to appear in the ad. Trump, being Trump, didn’t even bother to tell them he was using them for his own benefit. Plus, it turns out, putting them, the city, and the PD in a very sticky position of actually being in violation of the federal Hatch Act.
The one-second frame is superimposed with the word “Together,” sparking the emotional response that these officers are “in it” with Donald Trump. As Holm said, the ad “unmistakably and wrongfully suggests that Phoenix and the officers support or endorse Mr. Trump’s campaign.” This is propaganda, pure and simple.
However, they were never asked if they do, and as they were on duty they were not actually able to give permission to be used in a political ad. The Hatch act prevents police and many other public employees at the local, state, and federal levels from showing partisanship in their “professional capacity.” Like appearing in a campaign ad in uniform and on duty.
The National Fraternal Order of Police, the country’s largest police union, endorsed Trump earlier this month. But the FOP says that on an individual level, it’s impermissible for a cop to allow his or her “name or likeness to be used in campaign literature in the police officer’s professional capacity.”
Trump did not bother to get their permission to be filmed and used in the commercial, something so basic that it is impossible to believe he didn’t know to get it. He wanted “law and order” props, so he took them — and put them in the position to pay for his choice to do so — and used them for his own benefit. The Trump campaign has not yet commented.
They demanded that he take down the ad, but is that going to be able to erase what he did? Of course, it isn’t, something Trump knows well.
If you want to subject yourself to the propaganda circus that is this “commercial,” here ya go:
Featured image via screen capture, altered