Dr. Anthony Fauci has called on the Trump campaign to remove a video of him praising the president, calling it ‘really unfortunate and really disappointing’.
He also warned the president’s campaign not to use his words again as he described Donald Trump’s Monday night rally as ‘asking for trouble’.
The advert states: ‘President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America.’
A few moments later, Fauci is then shown saying: ‘I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more,’ creating the impression he is referring to Trump.
Fauci, the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was angered by the 30-second campaign ad, which began airing after Trump was released from the hospital on October 5.
It cites the president’s personal experience with coronavirus before cutting to a video of Fauci.
On Monday, night Fauci reiterated his criticism over the weekend of the video, and warned the campaign it needs to remove it.
Dr Anthony Fauci appeared on CNN on Monday night to discuss the Trump advert
Donald Trump resumed campaigning beyond the White House on Monday
The president was in Sanford, Florida for his first true rally since his COVID diagnosis
He stopped short, however, of threatening to resign.
‘It’s so clear that I’m not a political person,’ said Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, in an interview with CNN.
‘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.’
Immediately before Dr. Fauci is seen speaking in the advert, it states: ‘Together we rose to meet the challenge, protecting our seniors, getting them life-saving drugs in record time, sparing no expense. President Trump tackled the virus head on, as leaders should.’
The ad goes on to urge Americans to ‘live carefully, but not afraid,’ in an apparent reference to Trump’s message last week, telling people not to be scared of the virus.
Dr Anthony Fauci on Sunday spoke out against a new 30-second campaign ad that includes a clip of the doctor (pictured) appearing to praise Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic
Fauci on Sunday said his words were taken out of context from a statement he made in March.
‘In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,’ he said in a statement to CNN.
‘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.’
Asked by CNN on Monday what his response would be, if the Trump campaign issued a second video featuring him, he replied: ‘That would be terrible.’
He added: ‘I hope they don’t do that because that would be kind of playing a game that we don’t want to play.’
Fauci denied that his remarks were a veiled threat to quit.
Asked by The Daily Beast if his comments were a thinly-veiled threat to leave his post if he ended up in a new campaign spot, Fauci said: ‘Not a chance.’
‘Not in my wildest freakin’ dreams did I ever think about quitting.’
Fauci then explained to the news site what he meant by ‘backfire.’
‘By doing this against my will they are, in effect, harassing me,’ Fauci said.
‘Since campaign ads are about getting votes, their harassment of me might have the opposite effect of turning some voters off.’
Trump defended the ad, tweeting on Sunday: ‘They are indeed Dr Fauci’s own words.’
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said: ‘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.’
Trump responded to Fauci’s remarks in a tweet saying the ad includes ‘Dr Fauci’s own words’
Trump’s fans were out in force on Monday, most not wearing face masks
Fauci said he thought the large rally was ‘asking for trouble’
Governor Ron de Santis is seen next to Kimberly Guilfoyle, campaign finance chair
The vast majority of Monday night’s crowd chose not to wear a face mask
Fauci was also asked on Monday by Jake Tapper, the CNN host, what he thought about the president’s return to the campaign trail that evening.
Trump on Monday night was in Sanford, Florida, for an event which attracted several thousand, mainly maskless, supporters.
Fauci said he thought it was ‘asking for trouble’.
‘Put aside all of the issues of what political implications a rally has, and just put that aside and look at it purely in the context of public health,’ he said.
‘We know that that is asking for trouble when you do that. We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregate settings, where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves. It happens.
‘And now is even more so a worse time to do that because when you look at what’s going on in the United States, it’s really very troublesome.’
Fauci appeared in a second interview on Monday, with Shepard Smith on CNBC
Fauci said: ‘We are in a bad place now, and we have got to turn this around’
Asked in a second interview on Monday night, on CNBC, what he thought the outlook for the nation was, unless face mask mandates were universal, he replied: ‘I think we’re facing a whole lot of trouble.’
He added: ‘We have a baseline of infections that vary between 40,000 and 50,000 a day.
‘That’s a bad place to be, when you are going into the colder weather of the fall.’
He said he was worried about midwest states such as Iowa that were seeing spikes in cases.
‘So you combine an increase in test positivity, which is always a predictor of more cases, and ultimately more hospitalizations, and ultimately more deaths, and you combine that with a baseline of 40, 45, 50,000 new cases a day, as you go into a weather system where you’re going to be spending more time indoors rather than outdoors which is a perfect setup for an acceleration of respiratory-borne diseases: that is unquestionably a problem.
‘We are in a bad place now, and we have got to turn this around.’