DeSantis Responds to Trump’s Attacks on Florida’s COVID-19 Response

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and his campaign are defending his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida after former President Trump attacked his record in two recent radio interviews.

“He shut down Florida. It was tight as a drum,” Trump told conservative talker Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, “He had vax lines. He was vaxxing everything. Now, he talks about the vaccinations this and that.”

Trump told Hewitt that he had five articles indicating that DeSantis loved former NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci. “I do what Dr. Fauci says. ‘This is Ron DeSantimonious. I do what Dr. Fauci says'” Trump said, mocking the Florida governor. “That’s what he says. And I’ve got the articles here.”

Trump, who put pro-lockdown and pro-mask Fauci in charge of the nation’s coronavirus response, slammed DeSantis for initially trusting him on the Dan Bongino Show.

“If you take a look at what they did in Florida, and he closed the place up and now he’s trying to say he didn’t and by the way he was a huge Fauci fan,” Trump said. “He’d go around saying ‘whatever Dr. Fauci wants, that’s what I want.'”

In truth, DeSantis consented to the Trump administration’s federal guidance to governors later than 30 other states and began reopening in phases by April 29, 2020. Lockdowns in Florida ended entirely by Sep 25 ‘20. His defiance of the then-widely accepted COVID restrictions earned him the nickname “DeathSantis” among Democrat mask and lockdown supporters.

During an appearance on Fox News, the Florida governor acknowledged that his administration followed federal guidelines “for those first few weeks,” but once he started studying the data himself, he said he “made the decision to chart a different course.”

“At the end of the day, the leaders have to take responsibility,” DeSantis added. “I think it was pretty clear early on in COVID that Fauci was misfiring. He was elevated to where his pronouncements were basically viewed as gospel around the country and we rejected that.”

The governor pointed out that when Florida reopened and children were allowed back in school, Fauci criticized him. In August of 2020, Florida was the first state to open the schools up for children. DeSantis also banned vaccine and mask mandates in Florida and promised “we are not doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida.” In September of 2021, he appointed Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, a vocal critic of the national COVID response, as the State Surgeon General of Florida.

The DeSantis Campaign touted the Florida governor’s actions against the COVID tyranny on X:

DeSantis noted during a press conference that he received pressure from the Trump White House’s Coronavirus Task Force throughout 2020 and in January of 2021 to impose a mask mandate and shut down businesses.

“January of 2021, weeks before he left office,” the Task Force was ordering us to “impose a mask mandate and close bars and restaurants and businesses,” DeSantis said.

The DeSantis Campaign produced a letter Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force sent to the Florida governor on January 10, 2021, months after Florida opened back up.

“Just a few days before Trump left office, his task force was STILL urging Ron DeSantis to lockdown Florida with ‘strict physical distancing’ and force everyone to wear masks,” the DeSantis War Room said on X.

The White House warned DeSantis’s administration that “aggressive mitigation must be used,” including “uniform implementation” of 2-3-ply well-fitting masks and “strict physical distancing.”

While Trump slammed DeSantis for “vaxxing everything,” his task force in January of 2021 told DeSantis: “Do not delay the rapid immunization of those over 65 and vulnerable to severe disease” and advised “active and aggressive immunization.”

When asked by Hewitt why he kept Fauci on when it was clear that he was making things worse, Trump claimed that he didn’t have the power to fire him because the then-NIAID director was a Civil Service employee. Trump went on to claim that he frequently didn’t take Fauci’s advice, anyway.

Fauci, however, told the media that Trump always did whatever he wanted him to do regarding the pandemic. “He never overruled me,” said Fauci in 2020.

By the fall of 2020, Trump hinted to a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally that he did have the power to fire Fauci, and would be doing so after the election.

In response to the crowd’s chants of “fire Fauci!” on November 2, 2020, Trump said: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.” In order to fire Fauci, Trump would have needed to claim there was a performance problem or misconduct, which would have been easy since information about Fauci’s NIAID-funded Gain-of-Function experiments in Wuhan was already trickling out.

After suggesting to his supporters he would fire Fauci, Trump on January 19, 2021,  actually awarded him, Deborah Birx and several other administration officials with presidential recommendations for their roles in “Operation Warp Speed” for making the COVID shots available under emergency use authorization in record time.


Trump continues to promote the COVID shots to this day and claims that they saved millions of lives.

During the COVID vaccine rollout, when public health officials were claiming in unison that the jabs were 100 percent safe and effective,  DeSantis initially believed those claims, and urged Floridians to get vaccinated. Unlike Trump, however, DeSantis changed his view when he saw data showing otherwise and changed course.

Last December, the Florida governor empaneled a statewide grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” linked to the COVID-19 shots to bring accountability to those who have engaged in misconduct.



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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (L) speaks while meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on April 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump met with DeSantis to discuss ways that Florida is planning to gradually re-open the state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool/Getty Images)

Notable Replies

  1. Trump is lying again.If it comes down to Trump and Biden ,I will vote for the Trumper.Fauci is Trump’s creation.

  2. Avatar for Alecto Alecto says:

    Anyone living in Florida during WuFlu can attest to DeSantis reconsideration shortly after mask mandates and lockdowns were recommended by Fauci et al. He initially followed the advice that Trump also followed, but impaneled an advisory committee to assess the risks of either approach. Remember also (Trump appears to be showing signs of short-term memory loss) that Fauci flip-flopped often on most of these approaches while appearing on numerous media outlets to beef up his image.

    Most masking and social distancing in this area was mandated by private companies, not the State of Florida. Florida’s surgeon general was also instrumental in explaining why no masking or lockdowns were necessary and why none of it would reduce the spread. If anything, Trump demonstrated why he was such a weak President when he would not admit he was wrong on many of his policies during the so-called “pandemic” (it wasn’t), that his personal germ phobia was getting the better of him (he does not shake hands and lives in terror of bacteria and germs). I recall seeing a young man in Publix without a mask during the first months and followed his lead. So did many of us who bucked authorities and took heat for it. Trump may not have thrown people in prison for unmasking, but he didn’t help anyone.

    I no longer trust someone at that age to make good decisions, as we have ample evidence the current Occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania is incapable of making any decisions. Trump can’t have it both ways on this issue: it’s either, “I pushed through Operation Warp Speed!” which toxic jabs have killed thousands, possibly millions worldwide, and conferred broad immunity on even more toxic Big Pharma while shoveling cash to them, speeding up our national bankruptcy or “I am NOT responsible for ANYTHING I do!” which disqualifies him from seeking the Presidency of the United States again.

Continue the discussion at community.amgreatness.com


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