Althouigh the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 214,000 Americans as of October 2020, a Trump ad first aired on October 10th on Youtube touts President Trump's handling of the pandemic. It uses an out-of-context quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
"President Trump tackled the virus head-on, as leaders should," the narrator of the ad says, then has Fauci saying "I can’t imagine that … anybody could be doing more." This quote of Dr. Fauci is over 7-months-old. The amount of deaths in the U.S. caused by COVID-19 has more than doubled since then. In a statement to CNN, Fauci said he felt his words were taken out of context. The full context of the quote shows that Fauci was talking about the White House coronavirus task force and the mobilization of the federal government more generally.
The 30-second spot, titled "Carefully," highlights Trump’s recent bout with the coronavirus and claims the U.S. is "recovering" from the pandemic. The ad was uploaded to YouTube Oct. 10, the same day the U.S. reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases since mid August.
The ad also flashes clips of Trump wearing masks — a measure he has repeatedly criticized and taken sparingly in public settings since his first time wearing one in public in July.
Fauci’s comment was clipped from a March 22 interview with Fox News host and radio personality Mark Levin. The ad gives the impression that Fauci was talking specifically about Trump when he said, "I can’t imagine that … anybody could be doing more."
But that’s misleading, as other fact-checkers and news outlets havenoted — and as Fauci said to CNN. Taken in full context, Fauci was actually speaking about the workload facing the White House coronavirus task force at the start of the pandemic and the scale of the federal government’s mobilization as U.S. cases began to flare.
"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 told CNN, adding that he’s never publicly endorsed a political candidate.