The US Department of Health has quickly canceled a multi-million dollar publicity campaign aimed at raising public awareness of the coronavirus epidemic. The Deputy Minister had offered Santa Claus priority to vaccinate against the virus in exchange for their participation in the campaign.
Santa was supposed to talk about the benefits of vaccination against Covid-19. In addition, the ministry intended to place advertisements on television, radio, the internet, and broadcasters to “reduce despair, encourage hope and achieve national recovery”, according to the Wall Street Journal, which has data from the project that the newspaper has in hand. A total of $ 250 million was to be spent on the propaganda campaign.
The idea to offer Santa Claus access to a vaccine in front of the public came from Deputy Minister Michael Caputo. He recently went on sick leave for sixty days after being diagnosed with cancer. Shortly before that happened, he had posted a video of a misguided rage in which he accused federal investigators, among other things, of rebelling against President Donald Trump.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health claims that Alex Azar, the minister, had no green suspicion about Caputo’s attempts to get Santa Claus to join the campaign. He confirms that the collaboration has been blown off. The campaign is currently being reviewed by the ministry.
“I exist, lad, if you exist”
The Wall Street Journal quotes and publishes audio recordings of a conversation between Caputo and Rick Erwin, chairman of the Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, from August. There, Caputo claimed that the vaccine would probably be certified in mid-November and that it would be distributed to front-line workers before Thanksgiving.
“If you and your colleagues are not essential workers, I do not know who they are,” Caputo said in the call. He states that President Trump will “love” the idea.
“Since you were doing the groom a serious favor, the groom would definitely have to answer in the same currency,” Erwin told Caputo.
“I exist, lad if you exist,” said the deputy minister.
Caputo’s idea was for Santa Claus to take part in events in up to 35 cities. Actors who play Santa’s wife or Christmas elves would also have taken part in the campaign.
Erwin, who recorded a call and gave the WSJ the recording, says he is extremely disappointed with the news that Santa’s participation has been canceled.
“This was our biggest hope for Christmas 2020 and now it looks like it will not happen,” he says.
Democrats in the US Congress have criticized the planned publicity campaign and accused the Trump administration of misusing public funds to fund disguised political propaganda just before next month’s presidential and parliamentary elections.