In a recent interview with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis expressed his concerns about former President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, highlighted notable differences between his own approach and that of the former president, emphasizing his commitment to America First principles.
DeSantis pointed out that Trump has taken a different stance compared to his earlier years, criticizing the former president for supporting amnesty for illegal aliens. He firmly asserted that opposing amnesty aligns with America First principles, as it upholds the rule of law and prioritizes the well-being of American citizens.
DeSantis continued saying, “I think it’s interesting because he’s been attacking me by moving left. So this is a different guy than 2015, 2016. He attacked me for opposing an amnesty bill in the Congress. He did support this amnesty … 2 million illegal aliens he wanted to amnesty. I opposed it, because that’s what America First principles dictate, that you’re opposed to amnesty.”
However, the most significant disparity DeSantis highlighted was their responses to the pandemic. While Trump relied heavily on the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, DeSantis chose a different path, consistently challenging and questioning the recommendations of the renowned infectious disease expert. DeSantis made it clear that he refused to let Fauci dictate policy decisions that could negatively impact the people of Florida.
DeSantis proudly stated that his approach, which involved resisting Fauci’s stringent lockdown measures and prioritizing the reopening of schools and businesses, had yielded positive results. He noted that Florida had experienced less excess mortality compared to states like California and New York, which had implemented harsher lockdown policies. DeSantis emphasized that the success of his approach was evident in Florida’s booming economy, growing population, and increasing migration numbers.
Expressing his disappointment, DeSantis criticized Trump’s decision to commend Dr. Fauci on his last day in office. He argued that such recognition undermined the experiences of millions of Americans who suffered due to Fauci’s lockdown measures. DeSantis firmly believed that Fauci should have been held accountable for the detrimental effects of his policies.
“And I’ve said very clearly, if I’m president- if somebody like Fauci is in the government, I will bring them in and I will tell them two things, you’re fired,” DeSantis said.
Shapiro raised Trump’s recent remarks, in which the former president praised Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic in comparison to DeSantis’. DeSantis dismissed Trump’s comments as “bizarre,” highlighting Florida’s lower excess mortality rate compared to states like California and New York. He expressed concern that if faced with a similar crisis, Trump might resort to similar measures as those implemented in March 2020, which could have detrimental consequences.
“They’re very bizarre,” DeSantis said in responding to the attacks. “I mean, first of all, Florida had less excess mortality than California or New York. Part of that is because states like California had excess mortality derived from the lockdown policies, which is really, really avoidable mortality. But if he thinks Cuomo handled it better, that’s an indication if something like this were to happen again, he would double down and do what he did in March of 2020.”
DeSantis also drew attention to the potential consequences of Fauci’s recommendations, which he believed led to skyrocketing inflation. He stressed the importance of leaders acknowledging past mistakes and having the courage to label them as “wrong” and “destructive.”