Former President Donald Trump has finally answered the question everyone has been wondering about – why he did not fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, Ex-director of the NIAID, during the initial stages of the COVID-19 crisis.
In a conversation with radio personality Hugh Hewitt, Trump clarified that he couldn’t be easily terminated due to Fauci’s civil service status. Trump then emphasized that Fauci wasn’t a significant figure in his administration. Trump said that Fauci wanted him to do more, and he refused. He also insisted that Fauci wasn’t a “big player” during his administration. Trump said that Fauci became a big player with a prominent role under President Biden’s tenure.
Trump has faced criticism, notably from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for retaining Fauci, who became a polarizing figure during the pandemic. DeSantis has caused Fauci a “little elf” that someone needs to “chuck him across the Potomac.” Fauci frequently advocated for mask-wearing, vaccinations, and COVID lockdowns.
Reacting to Trump’s recent statements, DeSantis argued that Trump’s reasons for not firing Fauci have changed over time. DeSantis mentioned that Trump previously believed that dismissing Fauci would have caused an uproar among Democrats and the media, which he also believed would have occurred. “But that’s the price of leadership. You got to stand up and do what’s right,” the governor said.
Governor DeSantis gained national attention during the pandemic for his early lifting of lockdowns and opposition to vaccine or mask mandates. According to a statement made on the Rubin Report, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Dr. Fauci criticized the decision to keep schools open and other policies in Florida’s local media. DeSantis stated that there was no obligation for Dr. Fauci to do so. Furthermore, DeSantis suggested that Dr. Fauci could have been fired from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for engaging in misconduct through gain of function research.
President Trump claimed that Governor DeSantis “shut down Florida” and praised the state’s vaccine rollout. According to Trump, DeSantis was vaxxing everything. “Now, he talks about the vaccinations this and that.”
The debate over Fauci, who resigned from his federal role in 2022, emerges as some institutions reintroduce mask mandates. DeSantis reiterated his stance against such mandates in Florida.
Trump, in a recent video, urged Americans to resist any new COVID-related restrictions, hinting at political motivations behind renewed concerns about the virus. “The left-wing lunatics are trying very hard to bring back COVID lockdowns and mandates with all of their sudden fearmongering about the new variants that are coming,” he said. “Gee whiz, you know what else is coming? An election.”
Both Trump and DeSantis have expressed opposition to COVID restrictions, emphasizing individual freedoms and questioning renewed pandemic measures.