Trump’s attempt to enlist entertainers for taxpayer funded propaganda program fails spectacularly
Lately, the Trump Administration has been looking for a celebrity to be the face of its new COVID-19 PSA campaign. Well, kind of. While the $265 million taxpayer-funded ad campaign is supposed to raise coronavirus awareness, the White House has unsubtly been twisting it into an explicit Trump promotion.
According to U.S. Heath and Human Services Secretary Michael Caputo, the theoretically non-partisan campaign’s message is “Helping The President Will Help The Country.” Interestingly, this whole fiasco arrives just days before the 2020 Presidential Election, where Trump is behind in the polls.
Regardless of the hidden meaning behind the campaign—or perhaps directly because of it—the Administration has had trouble finding a suitable face for the ads. According to documents that Democratic lawmakers revealed to the Washington Post, the Administration went down a list of 247 celebs considered for the PSAs, but hardly any of them fit the bill.
Notes from the documents suggest a strict pro-Republican criteria for the job. Behavior that disqualified celebrities included if they had ever been critical of Trump, if they ever expressed support for Barak Obama, and if they ever supported gay marriage or LBGTQ+ rights. Unsurprisingly, these stipulations left options rather thin.
Names on the list included comedians Judd Apatow and George Lopez (both disqualified for expressing anti-Trump sentiments); singers Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Justin Timberlake (all ruled out for endorsing Obama and championing gay rights); actress Jennifer Lopez (eliminated for her so-called radical Super Bowl halftime show); and actors Johnny Depp and Jack Black (both excluded for simply aligning with the American left).
The name on the list that met the most scathing response was probably singer/songwriter Billie Eilish. Notes on the eighteen-year old celebrity recount that she “Made a political statement on gun control in 2019; will be a first time voter in 2020; not a Trump supporter, stated he ‘is destroying our country and everything we care about.'”
Of the 247 names initially listed, only ten survived the President’s elimination process— Dennis Quaid, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miranda Lambert, Garth Brooks, Dwyane Wade, Dr. Mehmet Oz, CeCe Winans, and Shulem Lemmer.
There are also a number of celebrities listed as “pending” or “declined.” Among the latter are Dwayne Johnson, Selena Gomez, and Sandra Oh.
Trump Train about to Derail or will Celebs like Lil Wayne & Kanye come to the Rescue
These slim pickings show that Trump does not garner the strongest support (or any) from American entertainers. In addition to all of the listed names considered and rejected for this campaign, there are many more celebrities who have publically denounced the POTUS, several of whom were formerly apolitical or even republicans (Clint Eastwood and Arnold Schwarzenegger) before the current term.
Not all celebrities are steadfastly anti-Trump, though. The President has actually found support in some unlikely places. Because of Trump’s recent Platinum Plan to assist black Americans, he has created seemingly positive relations with rappers such as Lil Wayne, Ice Cube, 50 Cent, and Lil Pump. It’s unclear if any of these recognizable names actually endorse Trump, but they’ve all shown degrees of support via social media.
Trump doesn’t have all rappers on board, though. Kanye West retracted his longstanding support for the President when he decided to run for the office himself this year. Meanwhile, when rapper Lil John was solicited to support Trump on Twitter, he responded bluntly:
Evidently, while there are some exceptions, few recognizable entertainers fully support the President. Ironically, Donald Trump himself has a strong background in entertainment— perhaps boasting the most show business-savvy resume of any President since Reagan.
However, while Reagan was an accomplished actor and later President of the Screen Actor’s Guild, Trump was more of a crude businessman slapped before the camera for a reality TV paycheck.
Entertainers carry a lot of influence. Unfortunately, Trump has struggled to win the hearts of such influencers. In fact, many of them are now using that very influence against him.
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