The Trump Administration’s Department of Health and Human Service is preparing to launch a celebrity-studded pre-election PR blitz to spread good news about COVID-19. The campaign, called “Defeat Despair” will star Dennis Quaid and CeCe Winans, and Dr. Oz and Garth Brooks are also reportedly involved.
More than 200,000 Americans have died of COVID under Trump’s watch.
Politico reports: “The ad blitz, described in some budget documents as the ‘Covid-19 immediate surge public advertising and awareness campaign,’ is expected to lean heavily on video interviews between administration officials and celebrities, who will discuss aspects of the coronavirus outbreak and address the Trump administration’s response to the crisis, according to six individuals with knowledge of the campaign who described its workings to POLITICO. The public awareness campaign, which HHS is seeking to start airing before Election Day on Nov. 3, was largely conceived and organized by Michael Caputo, the health department’s top spokesperson who took medical leave last week and announced on Thursday that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Caputo, who has no medical or scientific background, claimed in a Facebook video on Sept. 13 that the campaign was ‘demanded of me by the president of the United States. Personally.'”
Caputo, you may recall, was appointed spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services in April, and in early September was revealed to have systematically sought to change or alter the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports to fit Trump’s “optimistic” messaging about the coronavirus outbreak. He also told Trump supporters in a Facebook Live video to “buy ammunition” because “when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin.
Quaid defended his participation in a video posted to social media.
Said Quaid: “I have to say, that right now I am feeling some outrage and a lot of disappointment about a PSA and interview that I did with Dr. Anthony Fauci, a few weeks ago. It is being used by the cancel culture media that I was doing a campaign ad and endorsement of Donald Trump and that I was paid handsomely for this by diverted CDC funds. Nothing could be further from the truth. … What I was doing, is I did a PSA for Dr. Anthony Fauci and he was kind enough to grant me an interview as well, and the interview and PSA were about raising awareness of COVID-19 and what we can still do to prevent lives being lost by this terrible, terrible virus. It was about the importance of wearing a mask, about social distancing, and it was in no way political and in fact Dr. Anthony Fauci and I both talked about it before that it was not to be political. This virus is not political.”
CeCe Winans posted a video as well: