Dr. Anthony Fauci says his words were taken “out of context” in a new political ad about the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.
“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,” the nation’s top infectious diseases expert told CNN in a statement Sunday.
“The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials,” he added.
The 30-second spot was rolled out last week after President Trump was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was treated for the coronavirus.
The ad touts the president’s personal experience with the deadly bug and uses a quote from Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in an attempt to make it appear as if he lauded Trump’s response.
“President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America,” the narrator says. “Together we rose to meet the challenge, protecting our seniors, getting them life-saving drugs in record time, sparing no expense.”
The top doc is then seen saying in an undated interview: “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
Fauci’s quote was from an interview with Fox News in March when he praised the White House coronavirus task force’s effort to respond to the outbreak, according to CNN.
“We’ve never had a threat like this. The coordinated response has been … There are a number of adjectives to describe it — impressive, I think is one of them,” he said at the time. “We’re talking about all hands on deck. I, as one of many people on a team, I’m not the only person.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says his words were taken “out of context” in Donald Trump’s campaign ad.Donald Trump
“Since the beginning, that we even recognized what this was, I have been devoting almost full time on this. I’m down at the White House virtually every day with the task force. It’s every single day,” Fauci said in the interview.
“So, I can’t imagine that under any circumstances that anybody could be doing more,” he added.
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh responded to the doctor’s complaint by saying: “These are Dr. Fauci’s own words. The video is from a nationally broadcast television interview in which Dr. Fauci was praising the work of the Trump Administration.
“The words spoken are accurate, and directly from Dr. Fauci’s mouth,” he added.
The president agreed, saying in a tweet: “They are indeed Dr. Fauci’s own words. We have done a ‘phenomenal’ job, according to certain governors. Many people agree…And now come the Vaccines & Cures, long ahead of projections!”
The coronavirus has claimed more than 214,000 lives in the US, where more than 7.7 million infections have been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University.