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President Donald Trump and his campaign team are standing behind a new ad which Dr. Anthony Fauci claims used his words “out of context.”
The president responded to complaints by the nation’s leading infectious disease expert who said that video clips of him praising the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus were used without his permission in a new campaign advertisement released last week.
Fauci publicly called out the ad which came out after Trump was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital where he was treated for COVID-19. Claiming the comments in the clip from a Fox News interview were from a “broad statement” made months ago, Fauci brought more attention to the ad hitting airwaves just weeks before the election.
“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,” Fauci said in a statement. “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.”
Dr. Fauci to @NBCNews on Trump campaign using him in a campaign ad: “They did this without my permission and my comments were taken out of context. In my 5 decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed nor do I now endorse any political candidates.“
— Kelly O’Donnell (@KellyO) October 11, 2020
The campaign video featured Fauci saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more,” apparently leading critics to claim it seemed he was praising the president directly.
His comments were, in fact, taken from an interview in March when he spoke to Fox News and praised the White House coronavirus task force and its efforts to combat the unfolding pandemic at the time.
“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 had said at the time. “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.”
(Source: Donald Trump/YouTube)
The Trump campaign fired back at Fauci’s complaint, saying the remarks were “accurate” and the infectious disease expert did, indeed, say the words.
“These are Dr. Fauci’s own words,” campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.
“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.”
A Trump campaign spokesperson told @NBCNews that the campaign will continue to run the ad, despite Dr. Fauci’s objections.
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) October 11, 2020
Trump also doubled down on the ad, tweeting that the comments were “Dr. Fauci’s own words.”
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! https://t.co/ANqKL4eBqJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2020
Predictably, the liberal media quickly fanned the flames of Fauci’s outrage, calling Trump out for allegedly misleading Americans by using the medical expert’s own comments.
Apparently, the Trump campaign thinks it’s smart politics to pick a fight with Dr. Fauci three weeks before Election Day. Their ad is misleading and Fauci says his words “were taken out of context.” Remember: 68% of Americans say they trust Fauci, and 62% distrust Trump on Covid.
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) October 11, 2020
Oliva Troye, a former White House coronavirus task force advisor and aide to Vice President Mike Pence, joined the pearl-clutching on social media.
The latest @realDonaldTrump campaign ad using Dr. Fauci’s comments out of context is pathetic. I witnessed the President & WH leadership repeatedly disrespect Dr. Fauci & ignore his advice, leading to POTUS’s colossal failure of a pandemic response. @TimMurtaugh HOW DARE YOU.
— Olivia of Troye (@OliviaTroye) October 11, 2020
Others fired back at the left’s faux outrage.
Oh this is such a stupid quibble. Fauci was talking about the Task Force….that Trump put together.
Why wouldn’t Trump take credit for the work of his own task force? https://t.co/aBq7rnEiM9
— Politics is Broken (@MattCover) October 12, 2020
And perhaps in response to Fauci’s objections over the particular clip used in the ad, the Trump campaign provided several other options that could also serve the purpose, showing Fauci praising the Trump Administration.
Dr. Fauci said in March that the Trump Administration was doing everything possible to fight the coronavirus.
“I believe so… In the context of what we’re being challenged with, I think everybody’s doing really well,” Dr. Fauci said.pic.twitter.com/TtsKJpZTQ2
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) October 11, 2020
“Would you agree that the task force and the president took the outbreak very seriously from the beginning, taking unprecedented action, saving millions of American lives as a result”
Dr. Fauci: “Yes.” pic.twitter.com/1RI6hVZqqI
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) October 11, 2020
“Fauci and the media are deceiving the public. I conducted the interview and he praised the president’s leadership and the administration. Shame on Fauci and the Trump-hating media!” radio and television host Mark Levin tweeted.
“Here’s the most wishy washy epidemiologist /person in history. His advice is constantly changing and now apparently he’s turning his back on @POTUS to kiss some CNN A$…#contributor?” reporter and Fox News contributor Sara Carter wrote on Twitter.
Fauci’s complaint about the Trump ad prompted a collective eyeroll from many Twitter users.
Also Fauci — ‘Go on that cruise.’ Enough deifying this guy. https://t.co/CwL67dfhX8
— Joe Pags Pagliarulo (@JoeTalkShow) October 11, 2020
Fauci needs to go. He’s swamp creature
— Steve (@SteveDoublin) October 12, 2020
Shame on Fauci!
— SummerLady (@SummerLady14) October 12, 2020
Public figure, public office. We pay him for this info and it should be used whenever appropriate
— Ken malota (@KenNotBen) October 12, 2020
Fauci is losing the little respect he had left
— Gerry Pepper (@gerpep) October 12, 2020
This guy flips the script every time he speaks.
— Charlie Boyens (@MrCharlie67) October 12, 2020
POTUS never said he had received an endorsement. He merely quoted Fauci. Words that Fauci cannot disavow.
— Luis H Ball (@ball1_ball) October 12, 2020
Bigger question, is he a scientist or a commentator? Seems more like he enjoys the spotlight. Time to find someone more focused on medicine.
— Mic (@micmouton) October 12, 2020
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