Donald Trump’s campaign released a controversial new ad after the president left Walter Reed Medical Center last week following his coronavirus treatment. The 30-second spot features Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, appearing to praise Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Fauci spoke out on October 11 to slam the new ad for misleading viewers by manipulating his words in the video.
In the video, the ad’s narrator says, “President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America. Together we rose to meet the challenge, protecting our seniors, getting them life-saving drugs in record time, sparing no expense.” Then the ad cuts to Fauci saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
Fauci released the following statement to CNN after becoming aware of the campaign:
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’s Original Comments Were From an Interview With Mark Levin in March
Trump’s campaign cut Fauci’s words from an interview with Fox News’ Mark Levin back in March. Fauci was not referring to Trump when he said, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more”; he was referring to the entire White House Coronavirus Task Force team.
Fauci’s full statement said, “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 12, 1, 2 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.”
Tension Between Fauci & Trump Has Been Building for Months
On July 21, Trump announced that he would hold a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, and it was largely assumed that Fauci would be in attendance. However, an hour before the presser was to begin, Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he was not asked to join the president for the press briefing.
“I was not invited up to this point. I’m assuming I’m not going to be there,” said Fauci, who had been a key leader of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force since the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in America.
On Sunday, the same day Fauci slammed Trump’s campaign ad, Jonathon Karl said on This Week that the president “blocked Fauci and all federal government medical experts from appearing on the show.”
Karl said, “We had hoped to talk to Dr. Fauci about the outbreak at The White House and across the country.” And while Fauci “was more than willing to join us … the White House wouldn’t allow you to hear the nation’s leading expert on coronavirus. In fact, they wouldn’t allow any of the medical experts on the president’s own coronavirus task force to appear on this show.”
Former Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Says Trump’s Efforts to Discredit Fauci Are ‘Potentially Very Dangerous’
Kathleen Sebelius, who under former President Barack Obama served as secretary of Health and Human Services, told CNN that if Trump is successful in convincing the public not to trust Fauci, the results could be “potentially very, very dangerous,” especially while America and other countries work to find a vaccine for COVID-19.
I think people want to know from the scientists that the vaccine is safe, that it is effective, that it will not do more harm than good. And if the public scientists have been discredited, if the President says ‘don’t believe them, you can’t listen to them, they’re often wrong,’ we have then undermined a national vaccination campaign which is an essential step to bringing this horrible period to an end.
In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff spoke about the tension between Trump and Fauci.
Schiff said, “We need people more than ever to speak truth to power, to be able to level with the American people about what we’re facing with this pandemic, how to get it under control, how to protect ourselves and our families. That’s what Dr. Fauci has been trying to do and by sidelining him the president is once again interfering with an effective response to this pandemic.”