Fauci says Trump campaign should take down ad featuring him
Anthony Fauci said Monday that President Trump’s campaign should take down a new political advertisement that features his remarks, a day after saying his remarks in the ad were taken out of context.
“I think it’s really unfortunate and really disappointing that they did that. It is so clear that I am not a political person, and I have never either directly or indirectly endorsed a political candidate,” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday afternoon.
“To take a completely out-of-context statement and put it in what is obviously a political campaign ad, I thought, was really very disappointing,” Fauci added.
The Trump campaign rolled out the new ad last week after the president was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of COVID-19.
The 30-second spot seeks to paint a rosy picture of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic and features a clip of Fauci saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
Fauci issued a statement to CNN on Sunday saying that his remarks were taken out of context and that he did not give permission to the campaign to feature him in the ad.
“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 said.
Fauci’s remarks in the ad were taken from a Fox News interview in March during which he touted the response of the White House coronavirus task force.
In response to Fauci’s call for the campaign to take down the ad, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh defended the use of the video.
“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. As Dr. Fauci recently testified in the Senate, President Trump took the virus seriously from the beginning, acted quickly, and saved lives,” Murtaugh said in an emailed statement.
Trump also defended the ad, tweeting that they were “Dr. Fauci’s own words” and that his administration has done a “phenomenal” job addressing the virus.
Trump has faced widespread criticism for his handling of the pandemic, and Democratic nominee Joe Biden has put the coronavirus at the center of his campaign.
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