Florida Gov. DeSantis: 'We Chose Freedom Over Fauci-ism'

By Susan Jones | June 4, 2021 | 7:01am EDT
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, flanked by  President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus on April 22, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, flanked by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus on April 22, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - A recently revealed email from March 2020 shows that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease bureaucrat, was irritated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's refusal to shut down bars in his state.

Fauci wrote that he had been "screaming on TV...to tell the younger generation to start taking this (pandemic) seriously." Fauci said he was "very surprised" that DeSantis had not "completely closed the bars, even if they serve food," at a time when Fauci was insisting on "take-out only." "I will bring this up at the task force meeting tomorrow," Fauci wrote.

In response on Thursday night, Gov. DeSantis told Fox News's Laura Ingraham he's not surprised that someone who praised New York's response to COVID would have been upset with Florida's relative leniency:

"And so in Florida, we chose freedom over Fauci-ism. And we're much better off for doing that," DeSantis told Ingraham after she read Fauci's email criticizing the governor:

"I think his lockdown policies were not justified by the scientific data. He was somebody that fearmongered about schools. He did not support Florida when we had our kids in school in person. I think he was wrong about masks and asymptomatic spread," DeSantis said.

"And then obviously he does so many interviews that it was pretty clear to me after a pretty short time, you know, this was all about himself and his own image. And for me, you look at that magazine cover with him lounging by the pool with the sunglasses on, you know, right in the midst of a pandemic. I mean, it was almost like a let-them-eat-cake moment for all the people who were chafing under his lockdowns and yet he seemed to be having the time of his life."

DeSantis said in the early part of the pandemic, he and his fellow governors viewed Fauci as the coronavirus "authority."

"But I think it was pretty clear as the data started coming in, in April in particular, you know, I departed from what the task force was recommending and made sure that we were open. We worked to get our schools open, all those other things. So then I think we had less interaction."

DeSantis said he and the Trump White House shared the concern about Fauci's high-profile media presence throughout the pandemic:

You know, the problem, Laura, is to elevate anybody like that, I think, is problematic. But particularly when you have somebody that's going out and literally doing every interview under the sun. He ended up contradicting himself; he was indulging hypotheticals.

He ended up having to do political commentary, sometimes because the media obviously wanted to use Fauci to attack people like me and other Republicans, and so I think people are going to look back on this period and say, if there's anything -- something like this, someone in Fauci's role -- that's what you don't do, time and time again.

And so I think he was way over-exposed. And I think what you want to do in these health situations -- have one or two clear messages and just keep repeating that. But you don't got to indulge every left-wing reporter in the United States every day.

Emails indicate that Fauci knew early on, but refused to discuss publicly, the possibility that the coronoavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China. But DeSantis said Democrats won't press for answers on the origins of the virus.

"I think they are going to ignore it. I think Republicans take back the Congress, I think we can have a legitimate investigation. We certainly need to be investigating the origins of COVID over this January 6th (Capitol attack), which is purely partisan. So it's very important, but it will not happen with Biden and the Democrats in charge," DeSantis said.

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