A political ally of President Trump came up with the idea for the campaign over the summer, but it was met with backlash from Democrats in Congress who viewed it as an attempt to boost Trump’s public opinion ahead of the election, the news outlet noted.
HHS reportedly determined that the celebrity campaign, which was part of a larger $300 million taxpayer-funded effort, should be scrapped after conducting an internal review to determine whether or not it met public health goals. Though the celebrity campaign was removed, it was determined that the larger campaign would go on.
“We are pleased that following our investigation, HHS finally pulled the plug on this corrupt scheme,” House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), coronavirus select panel chair Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), wrote in a joint statement, according to Politico. “Accurate, reliable information must be a critical part of the federal government’s coronavirus response and should not be tainted by inappropriate political messaging.”