As the face of the COVID-19 fight, White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has been the front man since coronavirus entered public consciousness, and now President Trump is bringing him into the battle for the White House. Based on his response, Fauci wants no part of it.
Fauci released a statement on Sunday disputing his words and image appearing in a new political ad released by the Trump campaign. He said his comments were taken “out of context” and used without his approval. The ad portrays the president as taking decisive action against the virus and features a quick soundbite from the doctor. As the narrator of the spot says, “President Trump tackled the virus head-on, as leaders should,” followed by a short clip of Fauci saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
Fauci quickly pushed back about the ad and said it seemed as if he was endorsing Trump’s effort in the spot. Fauci said in “nearly five decades of public service” he had not endorsed any candidate publicly.
The actual clip used in the ad comes from a nationally broadcast televised interview Fauci did in March as the coronavirus pandemic was in its initial stage. In the complete soundbite, Fauci says, “I’m down at the White House virtually every day with the task force. I’m connected by phone throughout the day and into the night, and when I say night, I’m talking twelve, one, two in the morning. I’m not the only one. There’s a whole group of us that are doing that. It’s every single day. So, I can’t imagine that under any circumstances that anybody could be doing more. I mean, obviously, we’re fighting a formidable enemy — this virus. This virus is a serious issue here.”
The Trump campaign and even the president defended their use of the clip. As Trump said in a tweet, “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!”