CeCe Winans Addresses Scandal Over Her Role in Trump Ad Downplaying COVID-19

Cece Winans attend the 2017 Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas February 3, 2017. (Credit: Shutterstock)

CeCe Winans wants to clear things up about her appearance in an upcoming Trump administration advertisement.

In a video posted on Twitter Friday night, Winans confirmed she participated in a controversial “ad blitz” about the coronavirus pandemic spearheaded by Trump supporters. But Winans said her comments in the soon to be released ad campaign were “not political, at all.”

The gospel music performer released the video, after Politico published a bombshell report late Friday saying the Health and Human Services Department had used taxpayer funds for an ad campaign designed to “defeat despair” about the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related Story: BeBe Winans Contracts Coronavirus After Telling Fans ‘Don’t Fear’ The Virus

The ads push “an optimistic line about coronavirus,” the website reported. Politico added that it spoke with 10 current and former health officials who expressed concerns that the ad campaign cost more than $300 million, and was funded “by pulling money out of health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control that are in the midst of fighting the pandemic.”

As part of the production, senior administration officials recorded spots with Winans, actor Dennis Quaid, and they reportedly approached Dr. Oz and country star Garth Brooks about recording messages. Trump loyalists plan to start airing the ads before Election Day.

Quaid has previously said he believes Trump is doing a “good job” in his response to the pandemic. But reading Winans name in the story caught many people by surprise. After the Grammy-winning singer became a trending topic on Twitter, she posted a video in response to the controversy, along with the caption “A quick urgent message!”

“I was asked a couple of weeks ago to do an interview with the surgeon general, Jerome Adams, about the coronavirus,” Winans began. “This interview stresses how important it is for everyone to wear a mask, and it also gives us other instructions on how to get on the other side of this pandemic. It was not political, at all. We have lost so many lives because of COVID-19. Let’s all do everything we can, so we won’t lose any more. God bless you.”

Related Story: Chrisette Michele Admits Singing for Trump Derailed Her Career

As of Friday, COVID-19 had claimed 204,000 lives in the United States, with people of color and the poor disproportionately affected.

Many critics have blamed the Trump administration’s poor handling of the crisis for the high death toll, with much of the blame on President Trump himself.

Critics cite Trump’s comments earlier this year calling concerns about the virus a “hoax.” They also point to his prediction that the U.S. could reopen by Easter Sunday, as well as his demands that churches be allowed to reopen for in person services, and his comments suggesting consuming or ‘injecting’ disinfectant could cure the virus.