Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continued his criticism of former President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic during an interview with Fox News on Friday, directly responding to the president’s defense of his actions.
DeSantis’ remarks came in response to Trump’s claim that he couldn’t dismiss Fauci during his presidency due to Fauci’s “civil service” status. Federal laws protect career civil servants from politically driven terminations.
“I was not permitted to fire Fauci — who served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 through the end of 2022 — because he was in ‘civil service,'” Trump told talk show host Hugh Hewitt during an interview this week.
Trump also reiterated his assertion that DeSantis had imposed a complete lockdown on Florida, including its beaches. DeSantis, however, was quick to challenge Trump’s narrative.
“When we reopened this state, [Fauci] criticized us. When we had kids in school, the first state in the country with all school districts, he criticized us. When we said no vax mandates, they criticized us,” DeSantis said. “So, we had to chart the course and obviously the results speak for themselves because people flooded into Florida.”
DeSantis also refuted Trump’s claim regarding Florida’s COVID-19 statistics. Contrary to Trump’s statement that Florida, in 2021, had the third-highest total number of COVID-19 deaths but was ranked 18th in terms of COVID-19 death rate, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Yeah, that’s total nonsense,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis further scrutinized Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign advertisement, which featured a clip of Fauci praising Trump’s pandemic response. Fauci later expressed his frustration, stating that the advertisement had taken his words out of context.
“Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in October of 2020 was running ads bragging with Fauci saying, ‘Trump did everything I wanted him to do.’ They were putting that out and they were bragging about it,” DeSantis said. “And then on January 19, 2021, Donald Trump’s last day as president, he gave Fauci a presidential commendation. So those were wrong, to do that, and clearly, I think the important thing is this: looking forward, we need accountability for what went wrong, because those people in positions of authority at the CDC, Fauci, they lied about lockdowns, school closures, mask mandates.”
DeSantis emphasized the need for accountability, highlighting the adverse impacts of lockdowns, school closures and mask mandates across the country. He stressed the importance of ensuring that such measures do not recur, citing the protective measures implemented in Florida.
“We need a reckoning so that this never happens to our country again and we instituted permanent protections in Florida against mask mandates, against all this stuff,” DeSantis concluded.
DeSantis also commented on the recent decision by Rosemary Hills Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland, to mandate N95 masks for third graders following a few positive COVID cases.
“We know that doesn’t work,” DeSantis said regarding Montgomery County. “So, we’ve got to clear house on these medical bureaucracies, we need evidence-based medicine, not narrative-based policies.”
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.