Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said comments of his in a recent commercial from President Trump’s campaign were used without his permission and “taken out of context.”
“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,” Fauci said in a statement provided to Fox News. “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.”
The commercial in question, which is running in the key battleground state of Michigan, was released last week after Trump was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital following his coronavirus diagnosis.
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In one part of the ad, Fauci is seen saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
While no date is provided in the commercial, the comment from Fauci came from an interview he gave Fox News in March, where he praised the White House coronavirus task force’s response to the pandemic.
“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. We’re talking about all hands on deck. I, as one of many people on a team, I’m not the only person,” Fauci said during the interview.
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He added: “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. So, I can’t imagine that under any circumstances that anybody could be doing more.”
The Trump campaign fired back at Fauci’s comments that his words were “taken out of context” – saying that the infectious disease expert had praised the Trump administration’s work in combatting the pandemic and that his comments are “accurate.”
“These are Dr. Fauci’s own words,” Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said in a statement to Fox News. “The video is from a nationally broadcast television interview in which Dr. Fauci was praising the work of the Trump Administration.”
Murtaugh added: “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.”