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Trump Admin Offered Santa Clause Performers Early Access to Vaccine if They'd Promote It in Ad Campaign

Spencer Platt/Getty Images // Jose Luis Pelaez

For months, President Donald Trump has projected optimism that a vaccine for the virus that's already killed over 200 thousand Americans would be widely available before the end of the year, though many experts in his own administration disputed that.

Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Trump administration solicited Santa Claus performers to participate in a $250 million ad campaign to promote the vaccine. What's more, they promised the Santas they would get access to the vaccine before the general public in exchange for their participation.

The story came to light through tapes of conversations between Trump's Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant Michael Caputo and Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas head Rick Erwin.

You can listen to one of the tapes here.

In the leaked recording, Caputo says to Erwin:

"Frontline essential workers, health workers will be among those vaccinated early. And from my perspective, if you and your colleagues are not essential workers, I don't know what it is."

Erwin responds with a "Ho, ho, ho!" before saying, "I love you."

A spokesman for Health and Human Services insisted that HHS Secretary Alex Azar knew nothing of Caputo's efforts and the measure was scrapped before reporting on it emerged.

But as far as public opinion goes, the Trump administration is once again on the naughty list.






There's little faith in Trump and his administration's promises of a vaccine.



According to the Wall Street Journal, Mrs. Clauses and elves would have been granted early access in addition to Santas.