“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed, nor do I now endorse, any political candidates,” Fauci said in a statement reported by NBC News. “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 Trump ad, “ Carefully,” was released Saturday and talks about the administration’s COVID-19 response. In the ad, Fauci says he “can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
The comment came from a March interview Fauci conducted with Fox News and refers to the overall government response, not specifically Trump’s efforts.
“We’re talking about all hands on deck,” Fauci said. “I, as one of many people on a team, I’m not the only person. 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.”
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told NBC News that they will continue to run the ad despite Fauci’s objections.
“These are Dr. Fauci’s own words,” he said. “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.”
Fauci and the Trump administration have clashed before. Trump eventually sidelined him in favor of other advisers. Most recently, Fauci was in the news claiming a White House Rose Garden ceremony was a “super-spreader” event for the coronavirus.
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