During NFL football games Sunday, the Trump campaign began airing an ad that — for the briefest few seconds — highlighted Dr. Anthony Fauci’s positive comments about the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis (something Fauci himself was intimately a part of).
The 30-second ad from Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign praises the president’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and includes an edited clip of Fauci purportedly saying “I can’t imagine that … anybody could be doing more,” seemingly in reference to how Mr. Trump addressed the pandemic.
The good doctor is now pushing back, saying the comments were taken out of context and that the use of his remarks was tantamount to an endorsement for president, something he says he has never done.
“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement to CBS 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.”
Perhaps it seems strange that a man who spent months helping direct the response to the pandemic would now take issue with the administration using his words in praise of their work and call it out of context — suggesting that he was, in fact, not offering such praise.
Helpfully, talk radio genius Mark Levin provides a transcript via Real Clear Politics of his own interview with Dr. Fauci from back in March that appears to be the source of the remarks in contention.
Here’s Fauci during my interview on Life, Liberty & Levin. He was full of praise. Period.https://t.co/BJwwe8QO70
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) October 12, 2020
MARK LEVIN: Welcome back. Dr. Fauci, let me ask you a question. You’ve been doing this a long time. Have you ever seen this big of a coordinated response by an administration to such a threat? A health threat?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, we’ve never had a threat like this and the coordinated response has been, there are a number of adjectives to describe it. Impressive, I think is one of them.
I mean, we’re talking about all-hands on-deck is that 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 — almost full time.
I’m down at the White House virtually every day with the Taskforce. 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 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.
Why Fauci would now disavow his work and his own praise of it looks an awful lot like taking sides in a presidential race, despite the doctor’s insistence that he never, ever does that.