Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) criticized his top rival in the 2024 race for the White House over the significant trust former President Donald Trump placed in Dr. Anthony Fauci during the pandemic. The Florida governor said that Trump’s decisions “destroyed millions of people’s lives.”
DeSantis told radio host Glenn Beck that the former president placed too much trust in Fauci and essentially handed control to the infectious disease doctor.
The Florida Republican said that Trump had a successful first three years, then “turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020.”
DeSantis said that his record as governor showed that his state “stood up, cut against the grain, took incoming fire from media, bureaucracy, the left, even a lot of Republicans” by being among the first in the nation to reopen during the pandemic.
The governor said that his state is “booming,” and cited an influx of both new residents and new wealth entering Florida. DeSantis said that 2020 “was not a good year for the country as a whole. It was a situation where Florida started to stand alone.”
“So I think that’s an important contrast,” he said.
In 2020 Trump criticized a number of governors, including DeSantis and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) for reopening their states early against his recommendations.
“The authority of the president of the United States, when it comes to the subject we’re talking about, is total,” he said.
In 2020 the White House denied reports that Trump would fire Fauci, calling such discussion “ridiculous.”
Trump said in September 2020 that Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx “should be respected for the job they’ve done.”
FLASHBACK to September 10, 2020
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) May 26, 2023
In addition, the Trump 2020 campaign issued an ad that featured Dr. Fauci praising Trump’s efforts during the pandemic. Fauci said that he could not “imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
On Trump’s final full day in office, he presented Fauci with a presidential commendation for “exceptional efforts on Operation Warp Speed,” the project that resulted in several coronavirus vaccines.