Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis slammed former President Donald Trump during an interview Friday for his handling of the COVID pandemic, saying that Trump’s recent remarks suggest he would do everything the same if he was in the situation again.
DeSantis made the remarks during an interview with Ben Shapiro, editor emeritus of The Daily Wire and host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the top conservative podcast in the nation.
“I think it’s interesting because he’s been attacking me by moving left,” DeSantis said. “So this is a different guy than 2015, 2016. He attacked me for opposing an amnesty bill in the Congress. He did support this amnesty … 2 million illegal aliens he wanted to amnesty. I opposed it, because that’s what America First principles dictate, that you’re opposed to amnesty.”
He said that another key difference was how both men responded to the pandemic.
“He responded by elevating Anthony Fauci and really turning the reins over to Dr. Fauci,” DeSantis said, adding that he “bucked” Fauci “every step of the way, starting in April of 2020, whether it’s the schools, the businesses, the mandates, and our state has never done better as a result.”
“We’re number one for and in migration, number one for growth, and we keep — continue to see great things happen, but it required me to cut against the grain,” DeSantis said. “It required me to know that every decision I made was going to be met with opposition from the media and from the Left. But you do what’s right, and you don’t let them tell you, and so I think Fauci should have been fired. And I think the fact that Donald Trump gave Anthony Fauci a presidential commendation on Trump’s last day in office, that was a gut punch to millions of people around this country who were harmed by Fauci lockdowns.”
Shapiro then noted remarks that Trump has made recently in which he declared that former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did a better job than DeSantis did in Florida.
“They’re very bizarre,” DeSantis said in responding to the attacks. “I mean, first of all, Florida had less excess mortality than California or New York. Part of that is because states like California had excess mortality derived from the lockdown policies, which is really, really avoidable mortality. But if he thinks Cuomo handled it better, that’s an indication if something like this were to happen again, he would double down and do what he did in March of 2020.”
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DeSantis noted that what Fauci did ultimately set the U.S. on the path to printing more money, which caused inflation to skyrocket. He said that it’s critical that leaders are able to look back at what Fauci did and be able to declare that it was “wrong” and “destructive.”
“So if you could do it again, would he do the same thing? I sure hope not because those were not the right decisions to make,” DeSantis added. “And I’ve said very clearly, if I’m president, if somebody like Fauci is in the government, I will bring them in and I will tell them two things, you’re fired.”