DeSantis rejects Trump’s claim that Cuomo handled COVID-19 pandemic better

This combination of photos shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking on April 21, 2023, in Oxon Hill, Md., left, and former President Donald Trump speaking on March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. The competition between Trump and DeSantis is intensifying as the former president is scheduling a return trip to Iowa on the same day that the Florida governor was already going to be in the state that will kick off the Republican contest for the White House. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Alex Brandon/AP

DeSantis rejects Trump’s claim that Cuomo handled COVID-19 pandemic better

Misty Severi

May 26, 10:51 PM May 26, 10:51 PM

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Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) rejected former President Donald Trump’s claim that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did a better job at handling the COVID-19 pandemic than he did.

DeSantis said Trump’s claim was “very bizarre,” considering Florida had a lower “excess mortality rate” than both New York and California.


“But if he thinks Cuomo handled it better, that’s an indication if something like this were to happen again, he would double down and do what he did in March of 2020,” DeSantis said on the Ben Shapiro Show on Friday. “That was a difficult situation. We didn’t have all the facts, and people can kind of understand if you did things that may not have worked out.”

He continued: “But we all have to sit here today in 2023, look back on March of 2020, and say, ‘Faucism was wrong. Faucism was destructive. Faucism has set us on this path with the CARES Act and the Fed printing money, creating inflation, and creating some of the economic problems that we have today.’ So, if you could do it again, would he do the same thing? I sure hope not.”

DeSantis added that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci should have been fired during Trump’s administration instead of elevated.

The comments come after Trump asserted that Florida had the third-highest death rate in the country in 2021, despite having the 18th-highest death rate per 100,000 residents that year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York had the fourth-highest death rate.

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Trump has also criticized DeSantis for shutting down the state, including closing beaches, claiming that other governors did not. But DeSantis locked down Florida later than most states, issuing a stay-at-home order in April 2020 and lifting it in September.

Cuomo has faced heavy criticism for his handling of the pandemic, especially when it comes to nursing homes. A report by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that Cuomo drastically undercounted the deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes. Cuomo eventually resigned as governor in 2021 amid a sexual harassment scandal.

The exchange comes after DeSantis entered the presidential race on Wednesday, shortly after Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) entered the race on Monday. However, DeSantis is the only candidate to pose a serious challenge to Trump currently.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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