DeSantis and Trump trade jabs over COVID: ‘He turned the country over to Fauci’

The two heavyweight contenders for the 2024 Republican nomination took shots at each over COVID on Thursday with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis jabbing former President Donald J. Trump for allowing Dr. Anthony S. Fauci to quarterback the response to the pandemic while he was in the White House.

DeSantis followed up the rough launch of his campaign on Twitter Spaces, a rollout that was plagued by technical glitches that the ex-POTUS pounced on, hoping to land an early body blow on his top GOP rival. But the Sunshine State Republican, whose management of the virus was the nation’s gold standard, cooly punched back with a shot to the head wrapped in a compliment.

(Video: Grabien)

On a day of media appearances, the rising Republican star talked with conservative host Glenn Beck with the two discussing his presidential run and when the topic turned to Trump’s performance, DeSantis delivered a shiv between the ribs on a subject that he will almost certainly often return to given his stellar record of managing the virus while preserving the economic wellbeing of his state and the rights of Florida residents.

“I think he did great for three years, but when he turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020, that destroyed millions of people’s lives,” the governor said. “In Florida, we were one of the few that stood up, cut against the grain, took incoming fire from media, bureaucracy, the left, even a lot of Republicans, had schools open, preserved businesses.”

“Florida, since COVID has outperformed virtually any state in the country, when you look at all these significant metrics, I mean, we’re booming,” DeSantis added. “We’ve got people moving in here. Wealth is coming in here. And so I think when people look back — that 2020 year was not a good year for the country as a whole. It was a situation where Florida started to stand alone. So I think that that’s important contrast.”

Trump, in a video posted to Truth Social that also made its way to other social media outlets, assailed DeSantis over COVID, once again resorting to the head-scratching praise of Democrats that he has used against his younger adversary, this time giving props to disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo whose fascistic response to the virus was among the most totalitarian in the nation before he was run out of office under the cloud of a sexual misconduct scandal.

“When the Ron DeSanctimonious facts come out, you will see that he’s better than most Democrat governors, but very average at best compared to Republican governors who have done a fantastic job,” the GOP frontrunner began in the short clip bashing DeSantis.

“How about the fact that he had the third most deaths of any state having to do with the China virus or Covid? Even Cuomo did better. He was number four,” Trump added.

“He shut down everything, including the beaches. Other Republican governors didn’t do that. They kept it open. It was their choice. I gave them all their choice. The Democrats blew it big. A lot of Republican governors did a fantastic job,” Trump continued, omitting that he had repeatedly praised the handling of the closures by DeSantis who was among the first governors of the states that implemented restrictive measures to rescind after a time of initial hysteria.

“And look at Disney and what a mess it is,” he added, once again siding with the defender of groomers. “Could have worked out an easy settlement. But no, he wanted to show the fake news how tough a guy he is. He’s not. And the whole Disney thing is really very unfortunate. Now, thousands and thousands of jobs are being stopped and a lot of people are very upset about it.”

From now until the nomination is decided, the two will go at each other as no-hopers like Nikki Haley and possibly kamikaze Chris Christie will do their best to damage both in a brutal demolition derby of a primary in which the big winner could be Joe Biden and the Democrats who have to be loving what they’re seeing.

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Chris Donaldson

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