Dr. Anthony Fauci, the foremost infectious disease expert in the United States, criticized Donald Trump’s re-election campaign for taking his words out of context to make it seem like he was praising the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In my nearly five decades in the public service, I have never publicly supported a political candidate,” Fauci said in a statement to CNN on Sunday. “The comments made to me without my permission in the [Republican] The campaign ad has been taken out of the context of a full statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal health officials. “
The video released on Saturday featured Fauci saying, “I can̵
The clip is from an interview that Fauci gave to Fox News describing the work he and other members of the White House’s coronavirus task force had been doing to respond to the virus, not Trump.
Fauci replied, “The comments attributed to me on the GOP campaign ad without my permission have been taken out of the context of a comprehensive statement I made months ago.” (via @jaketapper) https://t.co/G57Q9rqCXj
– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 11, 2020
A majority of Americans disagree with the president’s management of the crisis, according to several recent polls. The Trump campaign said it wouldn’t stop running the ads.
“These are Dr. Fauci’s own words,” said Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh. “The video is from a national television interview in which Dr. Fauci praised the work of the Trump administration.
“The words are accurate and straight from Dr. Fauci’s mouth.”
For months in the wake of the pandemic, Trump has often been at odds with Fauci, delivering conflicting public health messages and publicly expressing his frustration at the doctor’s more sober attitude towards the crisis.
In the spring, when the virus devastated the north-east of the country, Fauci regularly attended White House press conferences on coronavirus. But in June, Fauci said he was no longer invited to the briefings and Trump told Fox News that Fauci was “a nice man but made a lot of mistakes”. Polls conducted in early summer found that a majority of Americans trusted Fauci’s assessments of the pandemic, while less than a third trusted Trump’s.
As cases increased in many parts of the country, Trump encouraged states to quickly reopen their economies for the summer. At the time, Fauci warned of a reopening without appropriate social distancing measures and contradicted Trump’s message that states should not delay.
Fauci has remained largely a neutral, authoritative figure in the public health field throughout the pandemic. He has refused to sharply criticize the government’s approach and has chosen to conduct dozen of virtual interviews to make his recommendations to Americans. Trump has since had Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, another well-respected public health expert who was once a regular attendee of the White House press conference, through Dr. Scott Atlas, who is neither an epidemiologist nor an infectious disease expert.
Atlas, a regular on Fox News Network, has been investigated by public health experts for questioning the effectiveness of masks and reviewing the Trump administration’s optimistic timeline for a Covid-19 vaccine.