the le journal Wall Street first reported on the plan after obtaining documents and audio recordings of the idea discussed. On Friday, however, HHS Secretary Alex Azar told the newspaper that “Santa’s collaboration would not happen,” much to the disappointment of children and Santa Clauses across the country.
“It was our greatest hope for Christmas 2020, and now it looks like it won’t happen,” said Ric Erwin, president of the Fraternal Order of True Bearded Santa Claus, Journal.
Erwin also provided audio recordings of his calls to Caputo, who told him, “If you and your coworkers are not essential workers, I don’t know what they are.”
Caputo also told Erwin: “I can’t wait to tell the President. He will love it.
The plan’s goal was to “conquer desperation” and “inspire hope” with online, television, podcast and radio advertisements. Erwin said he found nearly 100 Santa Claus volunteers to participate.
But Democrats believe the campaign was politically motivated. “We are concerned that the Trump administration appears to be misusing taxpayer dollars to fund a political propaganda campaign – disguised as a public health effort – just weeks before a presidential election,” three Democratic members of the Congress – Reps James Clyburn (DS.C.), Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) – wrote in a letter.
HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary Mark Weber denied the ads would be political, saying: “There is no room for a political twist in the messages and materials designed by HHS to help Americans make decisions. information on the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and influenza. He added that the campaign “would provide important information on public health, treatments and vaccines when the country reopens, and give Americans information on the phases of the reopening.”
In addition to providing the vaccine to Santa’s performers, the plan included running a series of public service announcements featuring actors and influencers to trick the public into believing the Covid-19 vaccine is safe. Currently, the public does not have much confidence in a vaccine with nearly half of respondents to a CNN poll saying they will not get the vaccine when it becomes available.