DeSantis Criticizes Trump Over Fauci

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) criticized former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence during Wednesday’s first Republican primary debate in Milwaukee over the role of Dr. Anthony Fauci in their administration.

The governor targeted the Republican frontrunner, arguing that Trump should have fired the former head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during his tenure.

“Why are we in this mess? Part of it and a major reason is because how this federal government handled COVID-19 by locking down this economy,” the governor said.

DeSantis called Trump’s decision “a mistake” that “should have never happened.”

He further argued that his home state “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.”

DeSantis said that Trump could not “coddle” the doctor. “You bring Fauci and you sit him down, and you say, ‘Anthony, you are fired,'” he said.

In June, DeSantis said that the former president elevated Fauci’s profile to an “international celebrity.” He argued that Fauci held significant influence over the White House during the last year of the Trump administration.

“He didn’t have control over Fauci,” the governor said. “Fauci ran that government his last year in office. Trump should have fired him, he did not do that.”

The candidate’s statements correlate with his consistent criticism of the former president. DeSantis cites a number of initiatives during his tenure, including as one of the first states to open during the pandemic.

However, Trump has also criticized DeSantis’ leadership during the pandemic. He asked “why do they say that DeSanctus did a good job?”

He then compared Florida to New York under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Trump wrote on Truth Social that DeSantis “shut down the State, and even its beaches (unlike other Republican Governors.”

DeSantis also questioned why Trump was criticizing his record, saying that if “you go back a year or two, he would say what a great job I’ve done in Florida.”