National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the most visible members of the White House's virus response task force.
Because of his decades-long experience and his trust in science, Fauci has often found himself at odds with President Donald Trump, who has decried Fauci on Twitter.
With public trust on Fauci's side, Trump's reelection campaign is now misleadingly using a quote from Fauci to defend Trump's bungled response to the virus that's killed over 200 thousand Americans.
Implying that Fauci is speaking of Trump, the ad shows him saying:
"I can't imagine that anybody could be doing more."
Trump's response to the virus has been plagued by his constant dismissals of the threat it poses, false promises of a cure, and refusal to use federal powers to issue a national mask mandate or coherent testing strategy. A September poll showed that the approval rating for Trump's response to the virus was at only 35 percent.
So it likely doesn't come as a surprise that the Fauci quote featured in the Trump campaign ad was used out of context.
In reality, Fauci wasn't praising Trump's response at all, but the efforts of the virus task force.
The full quote reads:
"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."
Fauci was none too pleased with the deceptive editing of his words.
Fauci issued a statement admonishing the use of his image:
"In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed nor do I now endorse any political candidates. 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."
People echoed Fauci's criticisms.
"Shameless" was the word that came to mind.
Despite the pushback, Trump campaign manager Tim Murtaugh said the campaign will continue running the ad, claiming, "These are Dr. Fauci's own words."