DeSantis and Trump argue over who handled the worst COVID-19 pandemic

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and Donald Trump, both declared candidates for the 2024 presidential election, battle with each other over how each has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although most critics of Trump’s actions during the pandemic have accused him of undermining public health advice, downplaying the severity of the disease and pushing a litany of unverified treatments, DeSantis claimed during an appearance in a podcast on Thursday that Trump had actually delegated too much power to Dr. Anthony Fauci, then director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, throughout the pandemic.

“I think he did a good job for three years, but when he ceded the country to Fauci in March 2020, it destroyed the lives of millions of people,” DeSantis said of Trump on “The Glenn Beck Program,” a day after announcing his candidacy. . “And in Florida, we were one of the few who stood up, against the grain, got fire from the media, the bureaucracy, the left, even many Republicans, opened schools, saved from business.”

In fact, Florida had the third-highest number of COVID-related deaths in 2021, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In terms of deaths per capita, Florida ranked 18th among states that year. In general, blue states had the lowest death rates while red states had the highest rates, the data showed.

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis talk to each other during a 2018

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis talk to each other during a 2018

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis talk to each other at a 2018 “Make America Great Again” rally in Tampa, Florida when DeSantis was running for governor.

Trump has also repeatedly ignored and undermined Fauci’s advice on the pandemic and sharply criticized him when the doctor’s comments on the health crisis veered away from Trump’s vision for reopening the economy.

In a campaign video On Thursday, Trump took his own swipe at DeSantis, saying he was the one who mishandled the COVID-19 response.

“When the Ron ‘DeSanctimonious’ facts come out, you’ll see he’s better than most Democratic governors but very average at best compared to Republican governors, who’ve done a fantastic job,” Trump said in a statement. campaign video.

“Even [former New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo did better,” Trump quipped to DeSantis, referring to deaths from COVID-19 in every state. “He closed everything, including the beaches.”

From a public health perspective, neither Trump nor DeSantis have done a good job of protecting people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and both have put many people at risk for political gain, according to critics and infectious disease experts.

DeSantis hit out at Trump again during an appearance on “The Ben Shapiro Show” on Friday.

“He has answered [to the pandemic] elevating Anthony Fauci and really handing over the reins to Dr. Fauci, and I think of the terrible consequences for the United States.

DeSantis claimed he would have ousted Fauci had he been in Trump’s shoes during the early years of the pandemic.

“If I’m president – someone like Fauci is in government, I’ll bring him in and tell him two things. You’re fired,” the Florida governor said, even though the president wouldn’t have the power to directly fire someone like Fauci, who wasn’t a political appointee.


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