Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) blasted former President Trump over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the former president would enact the same restrictions he did in 2020 if another pandemic pummeled the country in the future.
During a Thursday interview with Fox News Radio, host Jimmy Failla asked DeSantis about Trump’s claims that the Florida governor listened to advice from former White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci more than the former president did. DeSantis took the chance to offer rare criticism of the former president, who remains leading DeSantis in GOP primary polls nationwide.
“In fact, during that time in COVID, particularly the summer of 2020 and beyond, the Florida media was used … the Trump administration as a cudgel to attack me. Because they say, ‘Governor DeSantis is not following the White House guidelines. He has restaurants open. He has all this other stuff.’ And they were constantly coming back to that. So that’s just the reality,” he said.
DeSantis also said that the Trump administration needs “to own what they did” and assured that “those mistakes” would never happen again if he were to be elected president.
“You can take that to the bank with me. But Donald Trump, he’s basically saying he did everything right, and I think that means you should understand he would do the same thing all over again if put in that position. And that would be disastrous for our country,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis’s campaign and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R ) have rejected Trump’s criticism of how the governors handled the pandemic and slammed the former president for not supporting their decisions to roll back restrictions.
At the time, Trump said he disagreed “strongly” with Kemp’s decision to start reopening the economy in April 2020. DeSantis also moved to lift the lockdown in Florida around that time and officially ended the lockdown in September 2020.