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Monday Oct 12 2020
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US top infectious disease expert censures Donald Trump for twisting his words for political campaign

US President Donald Trump looks at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr Anthony Fauci as Fauci answers a question during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, US, April 17, 2020.-Reuters

WASHINGTON: Top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, has criticised US President Donald Trump for using his words out of context in his re-election campaign to make it appear as if he was praising Trump for his policies to combat the on-going coronavirus which reportedly was not the case.

According to a news report by American publication CNN, 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.

"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.

What is the campaign advertisement all about?

Amid the intense elections campaigns ahead of US polls planned for next month, Trump’s campaign released the new political advertisement last week after the president was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following treatment for coronavirus.

The 30-second ad narrates Trump's personal experience with the virus and uses a quote from Fauci in an attempt to give an impression as if he is praising Trump's response to battle off the contagion.

"President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America," the ad's narrator said "Together we rose to meet the challenge, protecting our seniors, getting them life-saving drugs in record time, sparing no expense."

The ad then flashes to an interview with Fauci in which he says, "I can't imagine that anybody could be doing more."

Read more: Top US expert Fauci quashes Trump’s theory about origin of coronavirus

As per the details in the report, Fauci passed these remarks in an interview with Fox News in March in a very different context. Praising the White House coronavirus task force's round-the-clock effort to respond to the pandemic, the health expert, during the interview, said that handling numerous White House meetings and late-night phone calls is often quite overwhelming.

“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."

‘These are Fauci’s own words’

Responding to Fauci’s criticism, 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’s new ad campaign comes amid a tirade of criticism on Trump’s response to coronavirus and his overall attitude of downplaying on the virus that brought America’s health system on its knees.