TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis blasted Donald Trump on Thursday, taking aim at the former president’s handling of COVID in 2020.
In a radio interview with conservative pundit Glenn Beck, DeSantis argued that following Trump’s willingness to follow Dr. Anthony Fauci’s guidance yielded disastrous results for many Americans. Fauci was serving as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases when pandemic concerns first began.
“When he turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020 that destroyed millions of people's lives,” the governor said. “In Florida, we were one of the few that stood up, cut against the grain – [we] took incoming fire from the media, bureaucracy, the Left, even a lot of Republicans.”
“Florida, since COVID, has outperformed virtually any state in the country when you look at all the significant metrics,” he continued. “We’re booming, we’ve got people moving in here, wealth is coming in here.”
DeSantis: Trump “did great for three years. But when he turned the country over to Fauci … that destroyed millions of people's lives.” pic.twitter.com/9hwvSh2qzI— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) May 25, 2023
“When people look back, that 2020 year was not a good year for the country as a whole,” DeSantis added. “It was a situation where Florida started to stand alone. So, I think that’s [an] important contrast.”
Since Trump began attacking DeSantis in November 2022, the governor has largely avoided returning fire. Now that DeSantis has made his candidacy official, the strategy has shifted.
In January, Trump accused DeSantis of “trying to rewrite history” regarding the Sunshine State’s COVID response. The governor pointed to the results of his election as proof that Floridians were pleased with how he handled COVID.
“If you take a crisis situation like COVID, the good thing about it is when you’re an elected executive, you have to make all kinds of decisions. You’ve got to steer that ship. And the good thing is that the people are able to render a judgment on whether they reelect you or not,” DeSantis said.
“I’m happy to say, you know, in my case, not only did we win reelection, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has in the history of the state of Florida.”