US vetted stars’ politics to showcase Trump virus response

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By MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Public relations firms hired by the Department of Health and Human Services vetted political views of hundreds of celebrities for a planned $250 million ad blitz aimed at portraying President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in a positive light, according to documents released Thursday by a House committee.

A political appointee at the department suggested creating a government-funded campaign to rival the World War II icon Rosie the Riveter, according to the documents, and taglines like “Helping the President will Help the Country.”

None of the celebrities agreed to participate — they may not have known they were being vetted — and the campaign has been put on hold.

Director Judd Apatow believes Trump “does not have the intellectual capacity to run as president,” according to a list of more than 200 celebrities compiled by one of the firms. Singer Christina Aguilera “is an Obama-supporting Democrat and a gay-rights supporting liberal,” the list says, and actor Jack Black is “known to be a classic Hollywood liberal.” A public service announcement by comedian George Lopez was “not moving forward…



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