On Monday, Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis fired back at former President Donald Trump for criticizing his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that Trump elevated Fauci into an international celebrity that “ran the government” in his final year as president.
DeSantis made his comments during an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier.
“He used to say the opposite,” DeSantis said of Trump. “Let’s just be clear. You go back a year or two, he would say what a great job he has done in Florida, one of the country’s great governors, Florida is such a great state. He always said that for years and years. Until about three days before the midterm election then he started to attack me and I think it’s because he saw that we were going to win a big victory and he viewed me as a political threat. So now he has flip-flopped on all of that and is trying to say I did a bad job.”
“I fought his administration to keep our state open to kids in school,” he continued. “Fauci, the task force, all those people. They were sending me missives. Even January of 2021, right before he left office, his task force was telling us in Florida to close. And so he didn’t have control over his own government. He didn’t have control over Fauci. Fauci ran that government, his last year in office. Trump should have fired him. He did not do that. He elevated Fauci and he made Fauci an international celebrity. And here’s the thing, I fought back against it but the reality is, Fauci’s policies were adopted in a lot of the blue states. Kids were locked out of school for a year. You had businesses shuttered for good. Small businesses.”
“Should the U.S. have locked down at all?” Baier asked.
“No. It was a catastrophic mistake,” DeSantis responded. “Back at that time, there was a lot of uncertainty, I get it. But knowing what we know now, that was a catastrophic mistake and we can never let that happen to our country again.”