White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that a new Trump campaign ad had "taken his comments out of context" and used his remarks without his consent.
"In my nearly five decades in the public service, I have not publicly endorsed, or now endorse, political candidates," Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement to NBC News.
"The comments attributed to me on the GOP campaign ad without my permission have been taken out of the context of a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal health officials," he added.
The ad in support of President Donald Trump's re-election bid, titled "Carefully," was posted on Saturday and promotes the President's management of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 30-second ad includes a clip by Fauci saying he couldn't imagine anyone could do more to fight the pandemic that has now killed more than 210,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University arrived.
The full extent of Fauci's remarks Fauci made during a March interview on Fox & # 39; "Life, Freedom and Levin" shows that the White House virus advisor is talking about the entire federal government's response to Covid-19. Fauci did not directly praise the president, as the ad suggested.
Even so, the Trump campaign countered that the words were his own and that they came from a national television program.
"These are Dr. Fauci's own words. The video is from a national television interview in which Dr. Fauci praised the work of the Trump administration. The words spoken are correct and straight from Dr. Fauci's mouth," said Tim Murtaugh. Trump's 2020 communications director said in a statement.
"As Dr. Fauci recently testified in the Senate, President Trump took the virus seriously from the start, acted quickly and saved lives," added Murtaugh.
Trump, who had a moody relationship with the health advisor, may be trying to capitalize on Fauci's popularity with voters to give his campaign new life.
The president has followed the Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, in national polls for months. Biden has expanded his lead over Trump in the last few weeks after the first presidential debate in late September and Trump's Covid-19 diagnosis.
An average calculated by RealClearPolitics.com showed the spread between Biden and Trump rose from 6.8 percentage points before the debate to 9.8 percent on Sunday.
Trump's lagging polls are also coming as the U.S. reports more than 40,000 new coronavirus cases averaged seven days. That rate could worsen as temperatures in the northern US cool, forcing people indoors.
The US reported 57,420 new cases on Friday, the highest daily number in nearly two months.
The Trump campaign also released a press release over the weekend listing some examples of Fauci applauding the government's efforts to fight the disease.
The president's campaign alleged that Biden's promises to listen to Fauci were doubtful because the former vice president so often "contradicted" the health expert.
Fauci told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell last week that he "is not happy with that. I would like to see this level well below 10,000."
"In certain parts of the country, like the Midwest and the Northwest, and even now, we're starting to see little trouble in northeast New York. Then you start to worry because it's harder to deal with respiratory viruses such as airborne viruses People are going inside more, "he said on Thursday. "And if you're starting to see upticks like we see it and you have a baseline of 40,000 and you get stuck at 40,000, this is not the optimal position when you step into the fall and winter."