Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that his words were taken out of context when they were used in a new advertisement from the Trump campaign, and that he doesn’t publicly endorse any political candidate.
The Trump campaign’s new ad hails the administration’s efforts to fight COVID-19, the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. At one point, the narrator says, “President Trump tackled the virus head on, as leaders should.” This is immediately followed by Fauci saying, “I can’t imagine that … anybody could be doing more.”
Some reports have suggested that Fauci’s remarks could be construed as a political endorsement or that they refer to the president specifically, rather than the efforts of the administration more broadly.
“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate. 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.
Fauci’s remarks came from a March interview on Fox, with the full statement as follows: “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. I mean, 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.
“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.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh defended the use of Fauci’s words, saying his remarks were in reference to the administration’s COVID-19 response.
“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,” Murtaugh told CNN.
The Trump campaign on Oct. 11 released a set of statements made by Fauci, in which he praised the administration’s response efforts.
In one of the statements, Fox News’s Sean Hannity asked Fauci, “Are we doing everything possible that you would do, up to this point?”
“I believe so. … I think in the context of what we’re being challenged with, I think everybody’s doing really well,” Fauci replied.