The Trump Administration has been enlisting celebrities for a series of advertisements seeking to reassure citizens as the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the celebrities chosen is gospel legend CeCe Winans, and fans are not happy about it.
As reported by Politico, the White House has tasked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create an ad campaign to address how the federal government has handled COVID-19, how to combat the virus and how to stay optimistic. About $250 million in taxpayer dollars is being used for the $300 million campaign as an effort to “defeat despair.”
The HHS has paired celebrities like The Parent Trap-actor Dennis Quaid with senior officials of the Trump administration in interviews for the ads. Winans was mentioned as one of the celebrities being interviewed for the campaign. Many fans were shocked to see the 12-time Grammy Award-winning gospel superstar participating in an ad campaign, ordered by President Donald Trump, and took to social media to express their disappointment.
After trending Friday night when the news hit, Winans posted a video statement about her participation in the ad on her Twitter account. In the video, she disclosed that she did indeed sit down with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams to discuss the pandemic and explained to her followers that she acted with good intentions.
“I was asked a couple weeks ago to do an interview with the surgeon general, Jerome Adams, about the coronavirus, and this interview stresses how important it is for everyone to wear a mask and it also gives us other instructions on how to get on the other side of this pandemic,” Winans stated. “It was not political at all.”
“We have lost so many lives because of COVID-19. Let’s all do everything we can so we won’t lose any more,” she said before closing out the 40-second clip with “God bless you.”
The HHS plans on releasing the ads prior to the Nov. 3 election, which is just over a month away. The agency is seeking to retain country music singer Garth Brooks and Dr. Mehmet Oz to participate in the coronavirus ads as well.
News of the ad campaign was first reported in August, leading Democrats to investigate the expensive endeavor, seeing it as a tactic to boost Trump’s reelection odds. HHS public affairs official Mark Weber has refuted that the ad blitz is an attempt to garner votes for the president.
“There is no room for political spin in the messages and materials designed by HHS to help Americans make informed decisions about the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 and flu,” Weber stated.