The Trump appointee who steered a $300 million taxpayer-funded ad campaign to “defeat despair” about the coronavirus privately pitched a different theme last month: “Helping the President will Help the Country.” That proposal, which came in a meeting between Trump administration officials and campaign contractors, is among documents obtained by the House Oversight Committee that further illustrate how political considerations shaped the massive campaign.
For instance, contractors vetted at least 274 potential celebrity contributors for their stances on gay rights, gun control and the 2016 election before allowing them to participate in the campaign. The official overseeing the campaign — Michael Caputo, who Trump personally tapped as the health department’s top spokesperson — also sought to overrule the career civil servants assigned to the campaign, directly urging contractors to rush production of ads with celebrities like Trump-supporting actor Antonio Sabato, Jr.
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EXCLUSIVE: the Trump appointee steering the $300M ad campaign to “defeat despair” about coronavirus privately pitched a different theme — “Helping the President will Help the Country.” https://t.co/zScPqQTNmn
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) October 29, 2020