virus task force
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.
4/ Here's the @TeamTrump ad with a misleading Fauci quote suggesting he was talking about Pres. Trump.
The quote is from March when Dr. Fauci was discussing the work of the Coronavirus Task Force — not Trump. pic.twitter.com/sMYY8tIN5T
— Bad Fox Graphics (@BadFoxGraphics) October 11, 2020
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.
Trump's campaign is taking Dr. Fauci's words out of context to make their failed COVID-19 response seem like a success.
In reality, they've silenced and sidelined Fauci and anyone else who contradicts Trump's message.
The results of their dishonesty and incompetence are deadly. https://t.co/74c7ihiDmO
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) October 12, 2020
I saw the ad twice during the first half of the Eagles-Steelers game. All I needed to hear to know Fauci was misleadingly taken out of context was the disclaimer at the end: "I'm Donald J. Trump and I approve this message." https://t.co/zrolMfjc79
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) October 11, 2020
Fauci has nobly tried to remain apolitical.
But now that Trump is using Fauci's words without permission in a misleading & dishonest way in campaign ads, Fauci should state his views on how Trump has managed the pandemic.
Trump opened the door. Voters deserve the truth. https://t.co/OgtZ0q25dL
— Ian Bassin (@ianbassin) October 11, 2020
What an egregious distortion of what Fauci said, and a total abuse of trust in public health. These guys know no shame. They'll burn it all down to save themselves. https://t.co/sSIZsOj5JF
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) October 12, 2020
The basic premise of Trump's advertising is that the public is a bunch of idiots. https://t.co/al4KSYE0Gu
— Aditya Sood (@adityasood) October 11, 2020
When I saw this ad just now during NFL football I was like “well this has to be wildly out of context without Fauci's permission" and yuuuup https://t.co/8zJPKSMnjN
— James Stevenson (@JamesStevenson) October 11, 2020
"Shameless" was the word that came to mind.
I saw this ad and wondered about that Fauci quote. Utterly shameless and deceitful. https://t.co/51wiN5wPxN
— Pronto Pup (@ProntoPup) October 11, 2020
@realDonaldTrump is a shameless liar. #VoteHimOut2020 https://t.co/nE9xNUMAQw
— Melissa Webster (@mwebster_x) October 11, 2020
Despite the pushback, Trump campaign manager Tim Murtaugh said the campaign will continue running the ad, claiming, "These are Dr. Fauci's own words."