Dennis Quaid is taking heat for joining a $300 million federal public service campaign that reportedly will try to put a positive spin on the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 emergency.
But in a statement released on Instagram on Saturday night, Quaid insisted that he was never paid for the public service announcement, and that all he does in the yet-aired spot is urge people to wear a mask and stay socially distant.
“It was in no way political,” he said in his rebuttal.
Since news of the ad blitz first broke on Politico, it has been earning criticism — including for its choice of Trump-friendly celebrities set to tape spots.
“The Big Easy” star has publicly praised President Trump’s handling of the virus, and has already taped an ad with administration infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci, Politico reported Friday.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams has likewise paired with gospel singer CeCe Winans.
The Health and Human Services team creating the campaign also hopes to tap Dr. Oz — who, like President Trump, has touted the widely criticized hydroxychloroquine as a treatment — and singer Garth Brooks, the report said.
“I have to say that right now I am feeling some outrage and a lot of disappointment about a PSA, an interview, that I did, with Dr. Anthony Fauci a few weeks ago,” Quaid’s rebuttal begins.
“It is being used by the cancel culture media, that I was doing a campaign ad, an endorsement, of Donald Trump, and that I was paid handsomely for this by diverted CDC funds,” he says, calling those claims false.
The sole purpose of his spot was “raising awareness of COVID-19 and what we can still do to prevent lives being lost by this terrible, terrible virus,” he says.
Still, the Politico piece prompted blowback.
“I would say I won’t ever watch Dennis Quaid in anything again — but I can’t remember anything he has been in [in] the last 20 years,” @jonathanjewel quipped.
“Dennis Quaid is seriously like the epitome of a Trump supporter,” tweeted @TomLglEdtr.
“Best known for roles in the previous century, and his latest wife is at least four decades his junior.”
Quaid is 67, and his wife, Laura Savoie, is 27.
Others questioned whether Brooks — who hasn’t confirmed if the administration reached out — would even consider an offer to appear.
“Garth performed at Obama’s inauguration,” noted country music journalist @hunterkelly.
“His wife, Trisha Yearwood, introduced Michelle Obama on her Nashville tour stop, and they are building houses with Jimmy Carter all the time!”
Brooks indeed performed at Obama’s 2009 bash. Asked to perform at Trump’s, he declined, saying he would be on tour.
Brooks reps did not respond to Politico’s request for comment.