Top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci accused the Trump campaign of "in effect harassing" him after they ran an out of context clip of him praising the US COVID-19 without his permission.
In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Monday, Fauci condemned the move, saying it would be "outrageous" and "terrible" if the Trump campaign were to do it again with another ad.
Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared in the campaign ad seemingly praising President Donald Trump for the US coronavirus response.
In the ad, Fauci said, "I can't imagine that anybody could be doing more," in terms of acting on the onset of the COVID-19 outbreaks in the US, but the line was in reference to the White House task force, not specifically Trump.
While Fauci slammed the move, he told The Daily Beast Monday that there was "not a chance" that he would resign from the task force in the event that the Trump campaign ran another ad with him in it.
"Not in my wildest freakin dreams did I ever think about quitting," Fauci said.
—Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) October 13, 2020
Fauci told The Beast that the tactic of using his comments in political ads could "come back to backfire" against the campaign.
"By doing this against my will, they are in effect harassing me," he said. "Since campaign ads are about getting votes, their harassment of me might have the opposite effect of turning some voters off."
The infectious disease expert told CNN over the weekend that his words, from a press conference in March, were taken out of context and without his consent.
"In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate," Fauci told CNN. "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."