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The Trump 2020 campaign released a new ad on Saturday that included an out-of-context comment from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
During a Fox News interview, Fauci praised the work of the White House coronavirus task force — not of President Donald Trump as the ad implies.
Polls show that Trump has received low marks from Americans for his handling of the coronavirus.
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The Trump 2020 campaign released on Saturday an ad that features White House coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci praising the president for his handling of the coronavirus. But the campaign took Fauci’s words out of context.
“I can’t imagine that…anybody could be doing more,” Fauci says in the 30-second ad. His line comes after a string of images and narration in support of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus, appearing to imply that Fauci gave his stamp of approval as well.
Fauci, however, made the comment in a Fox News interview in March, referring to the long hours put in by the members of the White House coronavirus task force. Trump is not a member of the task force.
“I’m down at the White House virtually every day with the task force,” Fauci said in the Fox News interview. “I’m connected by phone throughout the day and into the night and when I say night, I’m talking 12, 1, 2 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 under any circumstances that anybody could be doing more.”
When asked about Fauci’s quote in the campaign ad, Trump 2020 campaign director of communications Tim Murtaugh told Business Insider that “It’s the President’s coronavirus task force.”
The new ad comes with just weeks to go before the presidential election and also as Trump recovers from the coronavirus. He had been hospitalized at the Walter Reed Medical Center for a few days before returning to the White House.
The ad, called “Carefully,” opens with video of Trump wearing a mask and features additional images and videos of seniors citizens and medical professionals.
“President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America. And together, we rose to meet the challenge,” the ad says, right before Fauci delivers the out-of-context line. “Protecting our seniors, getting them life-saving drugs in record time, sparing no expense. President Trump tackled the virus head on, as leaders should.”
Trump has received low marks for the US response to the pandemic. A new poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos found that only 37% of respondents said they approved of his handling of the disease.
Fauci and Trump have often stood at odds on key issues related to the coronavirus. In August, Fauci said that the United States has seen surges in COVID-19 cases partly because the economy was shut down by about 50%, compared to Europe, which had almost fully shut down. Trump vehemently disagreed with Fauci’s remarks.
“Wrong!” Trump wrote in a tweet. “We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases. How did Italy, France & Spain do? Now Europe sadly has flare ups. Most of our governors worked hard & smart. We will come back STRONG!”
The coronavirus has infected more than 7.7 million people in the United States, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that, more than 214,000 people have died.
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