Dr. Anthony Fauci said he never consented to appear in a Trump campaign video ad that appeared last week, and that his remarks in it were taken out of context. “In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,” Fauci told CNN. “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.” The ad released last week shows Fauci saying “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.” In fact, he had been praising the White House’s coronavirus task force in an interview with Fox News in March, not the president.
“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.” Fauci said at the time, adding later, “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.”
In a statement Sunday, the Trump campaign hit back, saying: “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.” President Trump added, “They are indeed Dr. Fauci’s own words.” (Whether the words were Fauci’s own, of course, was never in dispute.)