Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday denied consenting to being featured in a new advertisement from the Trump campaign touting the President’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as the country suffers from more than 210,000 fatalities from the infectious disease.
Last week, the Trump campaign released an ad following the President’s discharge from Walter Reed following his treatment there for COVID-19. The 30-second ad, which airs in Michigan, uses a quote from Fauci in March to convey praise for Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the ad, Fauci is shown saying: “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more,” without providing a date of when he said those remarks. CNN noted that Fauci’s remarks were made during an interview on Fox News in March, when he praised his fellow White House coronavirus task force members for their non-stop efforts to respond to the pandemic.
According to a CNN report on Sunday, Fauci claimed that not only did he not consent to being featured in the Trump campaign ad, but his words were taken out of context as well.
In a statement given to CNN, Fauci cited how he has never publicly endorsed any political candidate during his nearly five decades of public service, before accusing the Trump campaign of taking his past remarks out of text without his permission.
“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,” Fauci said in a statement to CNN.
In a statement following CNN’s report, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh claimed that “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,” Murtaugh wrote. “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.”
Fauci’s denial of consenting to being featured in the Trump campaign ad comes amid his absence in recent White House briefings, which include those held by Trump’s medical team outside of Walter Reed following the President’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
Last July, the White House launched efforts to discredit Fauci through a memo sent out to multiple media outlets that said “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.” The memo cited a list that attempted to show examples of how Fauci contradicted himself in the early stages of the outbreak.
Fauci reacted to the White House’s efforts to discredit him by telling The Atlantic in an interview that they’re “a bit bizarre” and “it doesn’t do anything but reflect poorly on them.”