Trump officials tried to recruit 274 celebrities — including many like George Clooney and Chrissy Teigen who openly despise him — to star in TV ads about COVID-19

Ashley Collman
·4 min read

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George Clooney (left) has been a frequent critic of President Trump, and the president has gone so far as to block Chrissy Teigen (right) on Twitter. Yet both were on a list of celebrities the White House wanted to ask to appear in a series of coronavirus PSAs. Getty/Getty
  • Politico obtained a list of 274 celebrities considered for a White House public service announcement about the coronavirus.

  • Those on the list include many who have been critical of the president, including Chrissy Teigen, George Clooney, and Meryl Streep.

  • Only two people on the list are highlighted as saying yes to the offer — Dennis Quaid and Marc Anthony.

More than 250 celebrities were approached to appear in a White House public service announcement about the coronavirus, but the vast majority never responded to the pitch, according to Politico.

Politico first broke the news about the ad campaign last month, and on Thursday published a full list of the 274 celebrities approached.

Related video: Trump is actually pushing for herd immunity strategy for COVID-19

The document was handed over to the House Oversight Committee as they investigate the requisitioning of $300 million in Centers for Disease Control funding for the ad campaign, due to run before election day.

The project was overseen by the Health and Human Services department, which hired outside contractors to sound out the celebrities in question.

Two sources in the department told Politico that the ad campaign is no longer expected to run before the election, if at all.

The document includes A-list celebrities mostly from the movie and music industries, many of whom have been critical of President Donald Trump, such as Chrissy Teigen, George Clooney, and Meryl Streep.

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Meryl Streep was also approached to appear in the ad campaign. She bashed the president during her acceptance speech at the 2017 Golden Globes. The actress is pictured at the 2012 Oscars. Rick Rowell/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

The spreadsheet includes notes about almost every celebrity on the list, including background on their political allegiances and whether they have said anything negative about Trump.

For example, the note next to singer Billie Eilish's name on the list details how she "made a political statement on gun control in 2019" and said Trump "is destroying our country and everything we care about."

In some cases, the notes also include background on celebrities' criminal histories. Jay-Z is listed as being potentially interested in appearing in the ads, but the list noted that he was "arrested for assault and...sentenced to three years probation."

In another column next to each celebrity's name is information on the kind of Americans they appeal to. For example, rapper Cardi B is listed as appealing to Black Americans, "super spreaders," and the general population. It's unclear what kind of demographic would encompass super spreaders.

The only two celebrities seen as committing to the project on the document are actor Dennis Quaid and singer Marc Anthony.

Politico reported that gospel singer CeCe Winans was also committed to take part in the campaign. Quaid and Winans dropped out of the project last month, following Politico's initial report on the PSA campaign, saying that their initial interest was not meant to be political.

According to Politico, George Lopez was committed to the campaign as well, and was supposed to appear in an ad with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

But according to contractor notes from a September 29 meeting , the ad was "not moving forward due to previous concerns regarding his [Lopez's] comments regarding the president."

A few celebrities are listed as being potentially interested in working on the project, including John Krasinski, Morgan Freeman, and even Alec Baldwin, who portrays the president on "Saturday Night Live."

Several celebrities are listed as having declined the project, including Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Britney Spears. The vast majority are listed as awaiting response.

When contacted for comment, an HHS spokesperson pointed to recent testimony by HHS Secretary Alex Azar that the campaign in question is now under "strategic review."

Read the original article on Business Insider