Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert, clarified during an interview on CNN on Sunday that he did not sign off on a clip of him being used in an ad by the Trump campaign, explaining that the footage is out of context.
“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 the statement.
The ad, which was released last week shortly after the president was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, touts the president’s response to the virus and includes a clip of Fauci saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
Adding context, Fauci is referring to himself and other members of the White House coronavirus task force.
“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 in the March interview that was the source of the clip.
“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,” he added.
A Trump campaign spokesperson insisted that the ad was fair.
“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,” the spokesperson told the press. “As Dr. Fauci recently testified in the Senate, President Trump took the virus seriously from the beginning, acted quickly, and saved lives.”
Fauci’s comment comes the same day that ABC News’s Jonathan Karl said the White House had declined permission for Fauci to appear for an interview on “This Week.”