Former President Donald Trump clapped back at claims made by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis relating to the COVID-19 vaccine and former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr. Anthony Fauci.
During the recent GOP primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, DeSantis subtly attacked Trump by saying that Fauci should have been fired. Notably, the Florida governor did not mention the former president by name.
“It was a mistake,” DeSantis said, referring to the handling of COVID-19. “It should have never happened, and in Florida, we led the country out of lockdown. We kept our state free and open. And I can tell you this, as your president, I will never let the deep state bureaucrats lock you down.”
“You don’t take somebody like Fauci and coddle him. You bring Fauci and you sit him down, and you say, ‘Anthony, you are fired,’” he added.
Speaking on Newsmax with host Greg Kelly, Trump issued a scathing rebuke of DeSantis’ approach to COVID-19 as governor. The former president said DeSantis “loved Dr. Fauci,” and “said, let’s not do any[thing] if we don’t have the approval of Dr. Fauci.” Trump continued by saying that “Florida was third in the nation in deaths,” as reported by Breitbart News.
“I will tell you that he loved Dr. Fauci, and I’ll send you some articles tomorrow, he said, let’s not do any[thing] if we don’t have the approval of Dr. Fauci. … That’s all he talked about is Dr. Fauci. … I’ll tell you, he loved Fauci, but he also locked down his state. His beaches were locked down,” Trump told Kelly.
Trump: I will tell you that DeSantis loved Dr. Fauci pic.twitter.com/IdfGIfRpWR
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 25, 2023
“His roads were locked down, and his whole — he’s trying to pretend that none of this stuff happened. Now, if you look at somebody like McMaster — Henry McMaster (R) from South Carolina, if you look at Kristi Noem of South Dakota (R), some of the [Republicans], they really didn’t lock down. But Ron locked down Florida. I was there, and I can tell you,”The former president added.
“Florida was third in the nation in deaths. Now, that’s a horrible scorecard, but Florida was third in death. He was a big believer in the vaccines. This guy had lines for miles of people getting vaccines, now, he pretends [otherwise],” Trump continued.