Dr. Anthony Fauci says it was “very infuriating” that former President Donald Trump‘s reelection campaign used a clip of him, out of context and without his consent, in a political ad to make it appear that he was praising the president’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with The Atlantic, Fauci addressed the decision to be featured in a political campaign ad. He said, “I didn’t like it.”
“What these people were doing is, without even consulting me, they were throwing me in the middle of a very contentious political battle, which I found to be really very infuriating,” he continued.
The infectious disease exert was asked if he told the campaign to “back off, “Fauci said, “I didn’t tell them to back off. That wasn’t my style. My style was to say—to get a little Brooklyn-ite—’What is this bulls*** that you people are doing?’ I just made it very clear that I didn’t like it.”
Fauci also recounted an incident during former President George H. W. Bush’s tenure when he was being pressured to make a political statement in support of the president’s position.
“And he said, ‘Absolutely not! I don’t want you to soil Dr. Fauci by getting him involved in any political battles.’ What an amazing gentleman he was,” he added.
Despite the incident and Trump’s attacks on him, Fauci said he was not afraid that he would be fired “because I thought he liked me enough that he wouldn’t want to fire me.” He also noted it would “technically almost impossible for him to fire me.”
And while Fauci may have disagreed with some of Trump’s policies, he appears to have had a decent relationship with him, “[Trump] is a very charismatic character. And there was something about our commonality of being New Yorkers that we developed this strange relationship, where we really liked each other.”
“If I say that I liked him, my wife would have a heart attack. But there was something about him that was charismatic and likable on a personal basis—not on a policy basis,” he added.
In October, the Trump campaign took comments Fauci made out of context and used them in an ad to make it appear as though he was praising the president’s handling of the pandemic, as IJR reported.
After the ad was released, Fauci said in a statement, “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.”
He also said it would be “outrageous” if the campaign used him in another ad and claimed campaign officials were “harassing me” by featuring him in an ad without his consent.