Fauci says Trump campaign twisted his words in election ad
Top government scientist Anthony Fauci says that an election ad aired by Donald Trump’s campaign, was edited to make him seem to endorse the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,” Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement sent to AFP on Sunday.
The 30-second campaign ad cites Trump’s personal experience with the virus, “President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America,” it says, before including a brief clip in which Fauci appears to praise the president’s response to the pandemic.
“I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more,” Fauci is shown as saying, creating the clear impression he is referring to Trump.
But a complete clip of Fauci’s comments, made during an interview in March with Fox News, shows the doctor saying: “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.”
In his statement Sunday, Fauci said, “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.”
Trump defended the clip, and his handling of pandemic, and rebutted the doctor’s criticism.
“They are indeed Dr. Fauci’s own words. We have done a ‘phenomenal’ job, according to certain governors,” the president wrote 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! https://t.co/ANqKL4eBqJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2020
‘Reasonably good chance’
Fauci said on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s health was likely helped by an experimental therapy made by Regeneron Inc in which he received antibodies to fight the disease.
“There is a reasonably good chance that in fact it made him much better,” Fauci said during an interview on MSNBC.
Fauci also said that the Covid-19 pandemic is far more serious than the seasonal flu.
“There is no doubt about that,” Fauci said when asked about President Trump’s tweet comparing the disease to the seasonal flu.
As a leading member of the White House task force on the coronavirus, the 79-year-old doctor has frequently had to walk a fine line in attempting to clarify, or correct, the Trump’s often incautious assertions about the disease or the treatments and vaccines being developed against Covid-19.
Fauci has at times aroused Trump’s ire, as when the president in April retweeted a message containing the hashtag #FireFauci, before publicly insisting the doctor was doing a great job.