DeSantis attacks Trump on Fauci loyalty, ‘medical authoritarianism’

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday lobbed some new volleys at former President Donald Trump, the latest effort by the presumptive presidential candidate to disrupt Trump’s supremacy in the Republican Party. 

Speaking at a conservative convention in Utah, DeSantis went at Trump on a topic where DeSantis holds the definitive conservative high ground – responding to COVID and reacting to guidance from health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

“Leaders take the bull by the horns and make the decisions for themselves,” DeSantis said. “They don’t subcontract out their leadership to health bureaucrats like Dr. Fauci.”

While DeSantis’ characterization of the division of labor will no doubt be met with a rebuttal by the Trump camp, it’s undeniable that Trump retained Fauci’s services as an advisor, even as conservatives and the president himself soured on the doctor, and generally allowed Fauci to recommend a national course of action. 

It wasn’t until after Joe Biden assumed control of the White House that the now ex-president ramped up the anti-Fauci rhetoric. 

DeSantis, by contrast, balked at recommendations from Fauci and other health leaders when, after initially acquiescing to calls to shut down Florida, he began reopening Florida beaches, businesses, and schools in the summer and fall of 2020.

“A lot of those decisions were very, very lonely,” DeSantis said. “Now people look back and … act like they supported them all along. But they didn’t.”

DeSantis accused Trump of fostering an environment of “medical authoritarianism” and ceding too much power to Fauci during the early stages of COVID.

“Politics is not entertainment,” DeSantis said. “It’s not about building a brand, it’s not about virtue signaling on social media. It’s about delivering results.”

Trump did not respond directly to DeSantis’ speech. Rather, on Truth Social, he indicated that the entirety of the Republican Party, even those wings Trump personally dislikes, were with him and not DeSantis. Trump also repeated his claim that he was the reason for DeSantis’ success. 

“The Globalist, China hawking and RINO infiltrated Club For No Growth, which now wants to give up backing [DeSantis] because they realize there is no personality or people skills there, are beside themselves, and just don’t know what to do,” Trump wrote. “Florida has the Sun & the Ocean, and was GREAT long before I put Ron there. The semi-elite ‘No Growthers’ are considering sending Ron to the great Walter Reed Medical Center for an emergency personality transplant. His poll numbers are crashing!”

Polls are not necessarily a universal strength for Trump. Over the weekend, a new NBC News poll suggested that Americans would rather both he and President Joe Biden refrain from seeking election in 2024. 

However, in terms of the Republican Party, Trump continues to be the heavy favorite. In the same NBC poll, Trump held a 46% to 31% advantage over DeSantis, with no other candidates garnering more than 6% support.