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NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Sunday that he did not consent to being featured in a Trump campaign ad, which uses his comments out of context.
Context: The Trump campaign released an ad on Saturday that features a clip of Fauci saying, "I can't imagine that ... anybody could be doing any more." The campaign edited the clip to make it appear as if Fauci was talking about Trump. In reality, Fauci says he made the comments months ago and was speaking broadly about the efforts of federal health officials.
The full quote: "We've never had a threat like this. The coordinated response has been ... There are a number of adjectives to describe it — impressive, I think is one of them. We're talking about all hands on deck. I, as one of many people on a team, I'm not the only person," Fauci said.
- "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."
Driving the 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," Fauci said in a statement to CNN's Kaitlan Collins.
- "In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate," he added.
The other side: Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in an emailed statement to Axios that “these are Dr. Fauci’s own words."
- "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," Murtaugh added.
- “As Dr. Fauci recently testified in the Senate, President Trump took the virus seriously from the beginning, acted quickly, and saved lives."
The big picture: The Trump administration has faced criticism for silencing Fauci and other top health officials, who have frequently been forced to correct the president's misleading claims about the coronavirus. The host of ABC's "This Week" said on Sunday the White House refused to allow the NIAID chief or any of the medical experts on the coronavirus task force to appear on the program.
Go deeper ... Fauci: We had a superspreader event at the White House
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh's statement.