“Aligned With The Liberal Left”: Donald Trump’s Administration Vetted Celebrities For Political Leanings In Devising Coronavirus PSA Campaign

Donald Trump’s administration vetted celebrities such as George Lopez, Zach Galifianakis and Billie Eilish or their past comments about the president in determining whether the invite them to be a part of a coronavirus public service campaign, according to documents released on Thursday by House Democrats.

The House Oversight Committee released a document produced by a contractor for the Department of Health and Human Services that was a spreadsheet of 274 celebrities being considered for the PSA campaign, which notations on what they have said in the past about Trump and whether they have supported issues like gay rights and liberal issues.

For instance, Adam Levine is listed as a “liberal democrat who supported Obama and fights for gay rights,” and Johnny Depp appears to be “aligned with the liberal left.” Justin Timberlake “publicly endorsed Obama and supports gay marriage.” Zach Galifianakis gets a strike because he “refused to host President Trump on talk show,” and Jennifer Lopez “made a political statement during her Super Bowl performance to address Trump’s immigration policies.” The reference to Galifianakis’ talk show appeared to be of his satire Between Two Ferns, which Barack Obama appeared on while he was president.

Related Story

Cannes Chief Thierry Frémaux On This Week's "Spécial" Event & Optimism For 2021's 74th Edition

Some celebrities supportive of Trump also are tagged for other potential blemishes. James Woods, for instance, is identified as a Trump supporter but also it noted as someone who “publicly supported some conspiracy theories on Twitter.”

In a letter to Alex Azar, the secretary for Health and Human Services, top Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee wrote that “spokespeople for public service campaigns should be chosen on their ability to reach the target audience, not their political affiliation. Yet, documents produced by the contractors indicate that the Trump Administration vetted spokespeople based on their political positions and whether they support President Trump.”

According to their letter, only 10 celebrities ultimately were approved for the campaign, and only three actually did it: Dennis Quaid, CeCe Winans, and Shulem Lemmer. But they eventually withdrew their participation as negative attention focused on the effort last month. Marc Anthony sought assurances that his content would not be used in Trump campaign advertisements, but he pulled out of the media campaign.

Politico first reported on the campaign, and concerns among department staffers that it was being used to boost public opinion about Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis. It was part of a plan for a $300 million ad campaign.

A spokesperson for HHS did not immediately return a request for comment.

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article