Almost-Superman-impersonator and President Donald Trump has had a difficult relationship with Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci, is the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
While Trump administration’s treatment of the pandemic has been widely seen as disastrous, Dr. Fauci has remained popular with the American public. Nevertheless, the immunologist has declined to publicly criticize his boss. That said, he occasionally will firmly push back at things he’s said.
On Sunday, when Dr. Fauci spoke out against a new Trump ad that tries to argue for the effectiveness of his handling of an outbreak that has resulted in over 200,000 American lives dead, with no end in sight. The ad, released last week, features a brief clip of Dr. Fauci saying, in an undated interview, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
If his words sound like they were taken out of context, that’s because they were. Just ask Dr. Fauci. When asked by CNN about his involvement in the ad, he said he had nothing to do with it, and that he effectively does not endorse that message.
“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate. 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.”
The ad tries to spin the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic to make it sound like it’s on the way out. The same with his own contracting of the virus, which he claims is out of his system, despite him (allegedly!) testing positive less than two week ago. “President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America,” the narrator says. “Together we rose to meet the challenge, protecting our seniors, getting them life-saving drugs in record time, sparing no expense.”
As per CNN, the Fauci clip was taken from an interview he did with Fox News back in March, not long after much of the nation went into quarantine. Not only are Dr. Fauci’s words over six months old, but they were referring to the entire White House task force, before things got even worse. His complete comments at the time.
“We’ve never had a threat like this. The coordinated response has been…There are a number of adjectives to describe it — impressive, I think is one of them. We’re talking about all hands on deck. I, as one of many people on a team, I’m not the only person … Since the beginning, that we even recognized what this was, I have been devoting almost full time on this. I’m down at the White House virtually every day with the task force. It’s every single day. So, I can’t imagine that under any circumstances that anybody could be doing more.”
Team Trump tried to spin their own spinning of Dr. Fauci’s words. Tim Murtaugh, the president’s campaign communications director, tried to gloss over the whole out-of-context charge, made by Dr. Fauci himself. “These are Dr. Fauci’s own words,” Murtaugh told CNN. “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.”
Even Trump himself got in on the action, spouting the same line, ignoring Dr. Fauci’s rebuttal.
In other news, on Saturday an allegedly still contagious Trump told a largely maskless crowd of supporters that he still believes COVID-19 will go away, presumably without him doing anything. “It’s going to disappear,” Trump said, repeating a disproved claim he’s been saying since March. “It is disappearing.”