GOP unveils 'Commitment to America' platform, passing off stock footage of Russia and Ukraine as the US and a Lehman Brothers ad as a quote by Lincoln

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 12: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) talks to reporters after attending the swearing-in of Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN) at the U.S. Capitol on August 12, 2022 in Washington, DC. Finstad won a special election in Minnesota to replace former Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) who died in January of COVID-19. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) talks to reporters after attending the swearing-in of Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN) at the U.S. Capitol on August 12, 2022 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After a year of workshopping, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy unveiled the GOP's 2023 "Commitment to America" platform — featuring stock footage of Ukraine and Russia used to demonstrate the beauty of the United States and a fake Abraham Lincoln quote used in a letter to members of Congress.

In a promotional video released yesterday titled "The Preamble to the Commitment to America," a narrator exhalts America's exceptionalism, blames Democrats for leading the country "off track," and announces the 2023 party platform priorities: an economy that's strong, a nation that's safe, a future built on freedom, and a government that's accountable.

The intentionally vague platform seeks to unite the GOP ahead of a tense election season marked by internal conflict and anticipated rifts between moderate Republicans and election-denying allies of Donald Trump, The Washington Post reported.

Several clips in the video meant to portray the diversity and "vibrancy" of America — including scenes of a woman shopping in a supermarket, a child running through a field, and a farmer carrying a bag of wheat — were actually stock footage filmed in Russia and Ukraine, HuffPost first reported.

Several images were created by Serg Grbanoff, a filmmaker based in Russia, HuffPost reported, who confirmed to the outlet the images were created in the Volgograd region of his home country. Another image was created by a Shutterstock contributor, DedovStock, who posts shots he takes in Ukraine.

"Interesting how you guys aren't remotely interested on the issues facing the American people in the video," McCarthy spokesman Mark Bednar told HuffPost when asked about the stock footage.

The stock footage wasn't the only issue to arise with the rollout of the platform. In a letter to House members announcing its priorities — tweeted by Politico reporter Olivia Beavers — McCarthy signs his name to letterhead featuring a quote falsely attributed to Lincoln.

"Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality," the letter reads, attributing the quote to the nation's 16th president.

Christian McWhirter, a historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, told The Daily Beast he could find "no reliable evidence" that Lincoln ever uttered those words.

"They do not appear in his writings and I cannot find them recollected by any of his contemporaries," McWhirter told The Daily Beast.

The phrase, attributed online to Lincoln, Shearson Lehman, and anonymous sources depending on the reference point, was printed in a 1986 full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal paid for by investment banking firm Lehman Brothers to thank its long-term employees.

"Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality," the ad reads, The Daily Beast reported. "It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year."

Representatives for Rep. McCarthy did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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