Donald Trump will use and abuse anyone, as he has done his entire life, to get whatever he wants. The only thing that matters to him is Donald Trump.
Politico reports that Trump campaign leans on Fauci in new ad:
President Donald Trump’s campaign is out with its first ad touting his recovery from Covid-19 — featuring an [unauthorized] cameo from the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci.
Trump, who has a hot and cold relationship with the director of the National Institutes for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, appears to be attempting to capitalize upon Fauci’s popularity among voters as he tries to boost his flailing campaign in the last three weeks of the race.
The 30-second ad, which is airing in Michigan, centers around Trump’s own diagnosis with coronavirus last week, which the president has used since being discharged from a three-day stay in the hospital to urge Americans not to fear the virus that has now killed more than 213,000 Americans and sickened 7.7 million others.
The unauthorized cameo:
“President Trump tackled the virus head on as leaders should,” the ad continues, before featuring comments made by Fauci in late March.
“I can’t imagine … that anybody could be doing more,” Fauci says in the clip from an interview on Fox News, though he was speaking about the scale of the federal government’s mobilization — not specifically complimenting the president.
* * *
While the new ad features praise from Fauci, who has become a household name for his blunt talk and candor throughout the pandemic, the infectious diseases expert earlier this week referred to the White House event after which numerous attendees tested positive for the virus as a “super spreader event.”
He has also not shied away from criticizing the U.S. response to the virus, offering dire warnings about the continued public health threat that stand in stark contrast to Trump’s efforts to play down the severity of coronavirus, even after himself, the first lady, and their aides became infected.
Dr. Anthony Fauci did not consent to being featured in a new advertisement from the Trump campaign touting President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert told CNN his words were taken out of context.
“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,” Fauci said in a statement provided exclusively to CNN when asked if he agreed to be featured in the ad.
* * *
Though no date is provided in the ad, Fauci’s quote is from an interview with Fox News in March. During that interview, Fauci praised the White House coronavirus task force’s round-the-clock effort to respond to the pandemic, which he says included numerous White House meetings and late-night phone calls.
“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,” Fauci said at the time. “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.”
The Washington Post’s fact checker Glenn Kessler confirms CNN. Trump campaign twists Fauci comment to suggest praise of the president:
Throughout 2020, the Trump campaign has offered a master class in how to snip and cut video in misleading ways. This new Trump ad is no exception.
[The ad] follows with a clip of Fauci appearing to endorse that claim: “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
There is a certain irony in the Trump campaign using Fauci as a validation, as the president frequently is quite critical of the infectious-disease expert. (See our fact check of Trump’s three key complaints about Fauci.) But the biggest problem is that Fauci was not talking about Trump at all. In a March interview on Fox News with Mark Levin, Fauci was discussing the workload of the coronavirus task force. Here is the full context for his quote. The section used in the ad is highlighted in bold.
“I have been devoting almost full time on this — almost full time. I’m down at the White House virtually every day with the task force. I’m connected by phone throughout the day and into the night and when I say night, I’m talking twelve, one, two 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 that under any circumstances that anybody could be doing more. I mean, obviously, we’re fighting a formidable enemy — this virus. This virus is a serious issue here.”
In other words, the ad misleadingly clips Fauci’s comment and takes it out of context, especially because it sets it up with voice-over narration designed to make viewers believe the popular Fauci is praising Trump.
According to The Fact Checker’s Guide to Manipulated Video, this is an example of Missing Context — Isolation. That’s when a brief clip creates a false narrative that does not reflect the event as it occurred. The little snip in the middle of Fauci’s comment indicates that the Trump campaign clearly wanted viewers to believe Fauci was talking about Trump.
But he was not.
* * *
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh defended the ad: “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.”
But Murtaugh is wrong. This is yet another misleading clip job by the Trump campaign. Fauci’s words are placed in the ad in a deliberate effort to mislead viewers, and he had every right to complain.
On ABC News Sunday, Jon Karl, who was guest hosting “This Week,” said he requested Fauci for an interview, and although he was willing to come on, the White House blocked the appearance. ABC host says White House blocked Fauci from appearing on show:
“We had hoped to talk to Dr. Fauci about both the outbreak at the White House and across the country,” Karl said at the start of the show.
“He was more than willing to join us, but the White House wouldn’t allow you to hear from the nation’s leading expert on coronavirus.”
“In fact, they wouldn’t allow any of the medical experts on the president’s own coronavirus task force to appear on this show.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday that the Trump campaign should take down the political advertisement that he’s featured in, calling his presence in the spot “really unfortunate and really disappointing.” Fauci says Trump campaign should take down ad featuring him:
Fauci’s latest comments come one day after he told CNN he did not consent to being featured in the Trump team’s new advertisement and that his words were taken out of context.
“It’s so clear that I’m not a political person,” the nation’s leading infectious disease expert told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”
“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.”
Asked Monday about the possibility of being featured in future Trump campaign ads, Fauci maintained, “That would be terrible.”
“I hope they don’t do that because that would be kind of playing a game that we don’t want to play,” he said.
Sorry, Tony, the ad is airing. Trump doesn’t care that he misappropriated your image without your consent, and misrepresented your words by taking them out of context to mislead the public. This is who he is. This lawless president will do whatever he pleases until the American people decide to hold him accountable.
UPDATE: Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Daily Beast that it would be “outrageous” and “terrible” if he was featured in another Trump campaign commercial and it could “come back to backfire” on Team Trump. “By doing this against my will, they are in effect harassing me. Since campaign ads are about getting votes, their harassment of me might have the opposite effect of turning some voters off.”