Speed Reads

'unfortunate'

Fauci calls on Trump campaign to take down ad taking his words 'completely out of context'

Dr. Anthony Fauci is calling on President Trump's 2020 campaign to remove a new ad he says took his words "completely out of context."

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in an interview with CNN on Monday again spoke out against an ad from the Trump campaign he says took a quote from him regarding the federal government's coronavirus response out of context to make it seem as if he was endorsing Trump or praising him specifically. Asked by CNN's Jake Tapper whether the Trump campaign should take down this ad, Fauci said it should.

"I think it's really unfortunate and really disappointing that they did that," Fauci said. "It's so clear that I'm not a political person, and I have never either directly or indirectly endorsed a political candidate. And to take a completely out of context statement, and put it in which is obviously a political campaign ad, I thought was really very disappointing."

The ad in question focuses on Trump's coronavirus response and features Fauci saying in March, "I can't imagine that ... anybody could be doing more." In a statement on Sunday, Fauci clarified that he has "never publicly endorsed any political candidate" and that this was a "broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials."

When Tapper asked Fauci on Monday what he'd say if "I told you I heard that the Trump campaign was actually preparing to do another ad featuring you," Fauci responded, "That would be terrible. That would be outrageous if they do that. In fact, that might actually come back to backfire on them. I hope they don't do that, because that would be kind of playing a game that we don't want to play."

In response to Fauci's previous statement, the Trump campaign said that its ad used Fauci's "own words," which are "accurate, and directly from Dr. Fauci's mouth." Brendan Morrow