Former President Donald Trump’s latest comments on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic have drawn a pointed response from the governor.
President Donald Trump sat down recently for an interview with Megyn Kelly, they discussed a variety of topics including his handling of the COVID pandemic, his championing of the COVID vaccines, as well as where he stood on the issue of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who led Trump’s coronavirus task force in 2020.
Trump took aim at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, claiming without evidence that DeSantis was pro Fauci during the COVID outbreak and that DeSantis kept his state and everything in it locked down longer than he’s led people to believe he did:
Trump: “But I wasn’t, I was not a big fan of Fauci. If you look at Ron DeSanctimonious, he was, this guy said the greatest things. I can give you articles, that Fauci is great. He’s wonderful. We love him. We don’t do anything without Fauci. This went on for months.”
Kelly: “But he didn’t listen to Fauci.”
Trump: “He did a hundred percent. Look –”
Kelly: “He shut down Florida for a month.”
Trump: “I will give you- He shut down Florida –”
Kelly: “For a month.”
Trump: “Oh, he shut it down for a lot of longer.”
“He shut down the beaches,” Trump went on to allege. “He shut down the roads. He shut down hospitals. He was shutting down everything. He also had long lines of people getting the jab.”
“The guy tried to change history in Florida,” Trump also said, insinuating DeSantis is trying to rewrite his record on his management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Sunshine State.
DeSantis gavre his most pointed response to the former president:
Trump “used to praise Florida for having been open. He used to say I was one of the country’s great governors. He said we handled COVID correctly and brilliantly. He was on record, always saying that. Now, because I’m a threat to him, he’s now changing his tune…”
“A lot of the attacks that I suffered from through the balance of 2020 was the media in Florida leveraging the Trump White House against me and saying, ‘oh, the governor isn’t following the Trump White House directives. He has restaurants open, he has schools open, he has all that stuff.’ So they really used that White House Task Force as a cudgel to try to beat me over the head to try to portray me as being reckless because we had opened the state…”
“And here’s the thing: I fought against Fauci when he was popular. It’s easy for Republicans to ding him now because he’s unpopular with the broader electorate. Back then, Donald Trump used to cite Fauci’s poll numbers as a reason why Fauci was somebody that should be listened to. He said, ‘Fauci has got these great poll numbers, but we’re listening to Fauci, why don’t we have the same poll numbers?’ And his campaign for reelection, in October of 2020, they were running videos where Fauci is bragging that ‘Donald Trump did everything I told him to do.’ They were putting that out as a positive message for their candidate!”
“And then, of course, he did give Fauci a presidential commendation his last day in office. @megynkelly asked him about it, and he said, like, ‘what was that?’ Was that the immaculate commendation that just happened to happen? It said, ‘Donald Trump awards Fauci this commendation.’ So I thought it was really pathetic to sit there and listen to that drivel. It is totally false.”
Megyn: "But he [DeSantis] didn't listen to Fauci."
Trump: "He shut down Florida."
Megyn: "For a month." pic.twitter.com/1MmWjXUcRn
— Joel Weingart (@JoelWeingart_) September 14, 2023