Washington (Associated Press)-A public relations firm hired by the Department of Health and Human Services has scrutinized the political views of hundreds of celebrities and plans a $250 million blitz to portray President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak reaction A document released by the House Committee on Thursday shows that from a positive perspective.
According to the document, a political appointee in the department suggested launching a government-sponsored campaign to compete with World War II iconic Rosie the Riveter, with a slogan “Helping the President will help the country.”
None of the celebrities agreed to participate—they might not know they were under review—and the campaign was put on hold.
Based on a list of more than 200 celebrities compiled by one of the companies, director Judd Apatow believes that Trump “does not have the knowledge and ability to be president.” The list says that singer Christina Aguilera is “a Democrat supported by Obama and the gay rights of liberals” and actor Jack Black is “a well-known Hollywood classic liberalism. By”. These documents show that a public service statement by the comedian George Lopez “has not moved forward because of concerns about previous comments about the president.”
These names are included in spreadsheets, memos, notes, and other documents issued by the House Oversight and Reform Committee in September and October.
The review of these companies came at a time when political appointees planned to spend more than $250 million on a trust-building campaign around the virus, which has killed more than 227,000 people in the United States This is the core issue of the presidential election Between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
Although the government’s public health campaign was routine, the HHS planned surprise operation was troubled by the involvement of department spokesperson Michael Caputo from the beginning.He is a loyal supporter and friend of Trump and lacks experience in this field. In September, a Caputo spokesperson said that he was battling cancer and was taking sick leave from HHS.
Republican Trump has repeatedly reduced the harm of coronavirus, Even if the country is in the third wave of infection, Tens of thousands of cases are reported every day.
According to a memo compiled by a subcontractor of Atlas Research, one of the companies hired by HHS, Caputo proposed a series of slogans and slogans for the campaign, including “helping the president will help the country.” The note stated that Caputo wanted the movement to be “noticeable” and to confront Rosie the Riveter, who was a symbol of this role, symbolizing his opposition to Germany during World War II. Women working in combat factories and shipyards.
The memo said: “For us, the’enemy’ is a virus.”
The documents also showed a counterattack from some federal employees who led the work. They removed Caputo from the email chain and thanked one of the contractors for coping with the “challenging” environment.
The Democratic Party-led monitoring team said that Caputo is going beyond his own scope, interfering with the work that contract officials in the department should have done, and politicizing what should be non-party.
Chairman of the House Oversight, Caroline Maloney (DN.Y.) and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Representative Prince (James Clyburn), Raja Krishnamoorthi of South Carolina and Illinois in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar Say. “This theme also ignores the fact that more than 220,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. This fact should not be whitewashed in legal public health information.”
Azar put the entire project on hold at the beginning of this month and told Clyburn’s oversight subcommittee that it was conducting an internal investigation.
“I have ordered a strategic review of this public health education campaign, led by our top public health and communications experts, to determine whether the campaign achieves important public health goals,” Azar told the subcommittee that the committee is investigating Federal Government on Coronavirus Outbreak.
As the public health policy surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has become politically polarized, it is unclear how the government’s trust-building campaign will proceed.
HHS officials admit that any campaign will face a major challenge, which is to find a reliable intermediary to promote to ordinary Americans. In healthcare, people usually trust doctors first, not necessarily celebrities. Trump’s disdain for basic public health measures has alienated him from many medical institutions, such as wearing masks..
The 34-page “PSA Celebrity Tracker” written by Atlas Research and issued by the committee did not reveal whether these celebrities knew they were even being considered or whether they agreed to participate. The report stated that no celebrities are currently associated with the project, but a small number of people did agree to participate initially.
Singer Mark Anthony, who has been the key to Trump, seeks an amendment to pull out after his contract “to ensure that his content will not be used in advertising to re-elect President Trump.”
According to a document from Atlas Research, actor Dennis Quaid initially agreed and then withdrew. Quaid said in an Instagram video post last month: “Good behavior is not politicized.” Quaid said he was frustrated by the taped interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States. The movement was portrayed in the media as: Trump’s approval.
Quaid said: “Nothing is worse than the facts.” He said that the interview can still be conducted on his podcast.
The documents show that Anthony and Quaid are just a few celebrities who have been allowed to run. Others include TV health commentator Dr. Oz and singer Billy Ray Cyrus.
The Democrats wrote in the letter: “Spokespersons for public service activities should be selected based on their ability to reach the target audience, not their political background.” “However, the documents provided by the contractor indicate that the Trump administration The political position and whether he supports President Trump reviewed the spokesperson.”
Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso Zardival contributed to this report.