Trump's Dad Resurrected Via AI to Tell Son He's a Disgrace


“I’m ashamed you have my name.”

Daddy Issues

Deepfakes were little more than a looming threat last election cycle, but this time around they seem almost certain to have a corrosive effect on the discourse.

That doesn’t always mean that AI-generated fakes are mistaken for the real thing. The very existence of AI-generated imagery and audio, experts have pointed out, means that politicians who were actually caught saying something dumb or bad have a new excuse: they can just blame the embarrassing footage on AI.

Nobody has leaned into that convenient new reality harder than one-time president and current mass defendent Donald Trump, who’s already falsely claimed multiple times that genuine video and photos of him were the product of AI.

Now, the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump political action committee that Trump claimed — wrongly — had used AI to generate unflattering clips of him, is flipping the script by using AI to summon up footage of Trump’s long-deceased dad to excoriate his son in a vicious attack ad.

“Donny, I always knew you’d blow it,” says the AI-generated ghost of Fred Trump, who died in 1999. “I bailed you out so many times. Your deals were all garbage. You couldn’t even make money off a casino, you fuck up. I’m ashamed you have my name.”

Father Figure

The AI-generated Fred Trump continues to lay into his son.

“Everyone knows why the women leave you,” it says. “You’re boring, broke, and I told you not to get fat. You pay porn stars and you are weak down there. Your kids hate you, especially the girl. How did a son of mine turn out so damn dumb? The brand I built is crap because of you. You’re trash. You’ll be lucky to stay out of jail.”

Ouch! On the one hand, nothing about an AI-generated attack ad like this feels like anything close to constructive political dialogue. But on the other, at least the Lincoln Project is being totally straightforward about the fact that it’s using AI — unlike other debacles, like when the AI-generated voice of Joe Biden was used to robocall voters in New Hampshire or when deepfaked audio of a New York City assemblymember trashing colleagues made the rounds.

In fact, the Lincoln Project made it a central part of the bit.

“I’ve been dead 30 years,” says the AI-generated Fred Trump, “and I’m still ashamed of you.”

More on AI: Pennsylvania Politician Using Talking AI Chatbot to Call Thousands of Voters


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