Governor DeSantis Calls Out Trump’s Denial and Criticizes Handling of COVID-19 in Florida

In a recent interview, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis criticized former President Donald Trump for claiming that he doesn’t know who awarded Dr. Anthony Fauci a presidential commendation. DeSantis mocked Trump’s denial, pointing out that the commendation literally said “President Trump awards commendation.”[0] He questioned whether the commendation just happened out of thin air and urged people to take responsibility for their actions. DeSantis also highlighted Trump’s past endorsement of Fauci, stating that Trump used to cite Fauci’s poll numbers as a reason why he should be listened to.[1] However, DeSantis accused Trump of changing his tune now that Fauci is unpopular with the broader electorate.

DeSantis went on to criticize Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, accusing him of using Fauci’s praise during his reelection campaign in 2020. DeSantis claimed that Trump’s campaign ran videos where Fauci bragged about Trump following his advice.[1] He argued that Trump’s recent denial of giving Fauci the commendation was absurd, as such commendations require presidential sign-off and approval.

The tension between DeSantis and Trump has been evident in recent months, with DeSantis becoming a prominent skeptic of the COVID-19 vaccines’ effectiveness and dismissive of vaccine boosters.[0] This contrasts with Fauci’s endorsement of mask mandates and vaccinations.[2] Trump claimed that Florida under DeSantis had a mandate on COVID-19 vaccines, but DeSantis never imposed any vaccine mandate.[0]

DeSantis also criticized Trump for his handling of the pandemic in Florida and accused him of changing his tune now that DeSantis is seen as a threat in the 2024 Republican presidential primary race. He argued that Trump used to praise Florida for its handling of COVID-19 and consider DeSantis one of the country’s great governors.[3] However, Trump’s recent criticism of DeSantis shows a shift in his opinion.

The dispute between DeSantis and Trump highlights the ongoing divisions within the Republican Party regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of figures like Fauci. While DeSantis has been critical of Fauci’s recommendations, Trump’s past endorsement of Fauci creates a dilemma for the former president. The disagreement between DeSantis and Trump also raises questions about the dynamics within the Republican Party as potential candidates position themselves for the 2024 presidential election.

0. “Fact check: Trump makes four false claims related to DeSantis” WICZ, 15 Sep. 2023,

1. “DeSantis grills Trump’s ‘pathetic’ ‘drivel’ on who gave Fauci presidential commendation” Florida’s Voice, 15 Sep. 2023,

2. “Ron DeSantis Triggering ‘Crazy’ People, Says Fauci: ‘That’s The Reason I Have To Have Security'” Benzinga, 22 Sep. 2023,

3. “DeSantis Responds To Trump’s Covid Fight With Megyn Kelly: ‘Really Pathetic’” Mediaite, 14 Sep. 2023,

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