Top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Monday that President Donald Trump’s campaign team should withdraw an advertisement that draws on a statement Fauci made that he says is being used out of context.
Asked in an interview on CNN if the ad should be removed, Fauci said, “I think so.” He said the ad was “unfortunate and really disappointing.”
The ad, released last week, discusses Trump’s effort to recover from COVID-19, as well as his administration’s work to address the coronavirus pandemic. The 30-second spot uses public remarks from Fauci in a way that suggests he was praising the president.
The remarks came from a March interview where Fauci, who has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, discussed the broader effort to fight the new coronavirus, including by the White House task force.
Fauci has said that he has never publicly endorsed a political candidate for public office.
Fauci has sometimes been diplomatically critical of the president, including for holding rallies that attract thousands of people. The disease has infected nearly 7.7 million people in the United States and killed more than 214,000. Opinion polls show most voters disapprove of the president’s handling of the crisis.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh defended the ad on Sunday, saying the words from Fauci “are accurate, and directly from Dr. Fauci’s mouth.”