Trump campaign leans on Fauci in new ad

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President Donald Trump’s campaign is out with its first ad touting his recovery from Covid-19 — featuring a cameo from the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci.

Trump, who has a hot and cold relationship with the director of the National Institutes for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, appears to be attempting to capitalize upon Fauci’s popularity among voters as he tries to boost his flailing campaign in the last three weeks of the race.

The 30-second ad, which is airing in Michigan, centers around Trump’s own diagnosis with coronavirus last week, which the president has used since being discharged from a three-day stay in the hospital to urge Americans not to fear the virus that has now killed more than 213,000 Americans and sickened 7.7 million others.

“President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America,” the ad’s narrator says, before lauding what’s been a widely panned response from the White House. “Together we rose to meet the challenge, protecting our seniors, getting them life saving drugs in record time, sparing no expense.”

It features images of Trump wearing a face mask, a public health precaution he initially scorned and the week of his diagnosis even mocked a political opponent for wearing.

“President Trump tackled the virus head on as leaders should,” the ad continues, before featuring comments made by Fauci in late March.

“I can’t imagine … that anybody could be doing more,” Fauci says in the clip from an interview on Fox News, though he was speaking about the scale of the federal government’s mobilization — not specifically complimenting the president.

The ad concludes on an optimistic note, echoing the president’s “don’t be afraid of Covid” rhetoric.

“We’ll get through this together. We’ll live carefully, but not afraid,” it says.

As Trump urges Americans not to worry about coronavirus, the U.S. on Friday reported its highest single-day number of new cases in nearly two months, as experts including Fauci warn of a potential second wave of infections heading into the fall and winter.

While the new ad features praise from Fauci, who has become a household name for his blunt talk and candor throughout the pandemic, the infectious diseases expert earlier this week referred to the White House event after which numerous attendees tested positive for the virus as a “super spreader event.”

He has also not shied away from criticizing the U.S. response to the virus, offering dire warnings about the continued public health threat that stand in stark contrast to Trump’s efforts to play down the severity of coronavirus, even after himself, the first lady, and their aides became infected.

And though the ad touts Trump’s recovery, while the president has said he feels healthy again, the White House has declined to say whether Trump has tested negative for coronavirus since his initial diagnosis, leaving open the possibility that he is still contagious.

Despite this, Trump is hosting supporters at the White House Saturday afternoon in what’s being billed as a “peaceful protest” for law and order by the White House, and plans to hold a campaign rally in Florida on Monday.

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