DeSantis criticizes Fauci after e-mail release: Florida ‘chose freedom over Faucism’

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to lash out at Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci first criticized some of DeSantis’ decisions during the coronavirus pandemic. The evidence is in an e-mail that BuzzFeed and The Washington Post recently obtained. Reporters reviewed 3,234 pages of Fauci’s e-mails.

This week, the Florida politician and attorney decided to target the nation’s top infectious disease expert. He criticized Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, both on TV and during a public event.

“In Florida, we chose freedom over ‘Faucism’ and we’re much better off for doing that. I think his lockdown policies were not justified by the scientific data,” DeSantis said during an interview with Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle.

DeSantis also questioned Fauci’s motives for regularly accepting interviews. As COVID-19 killed Americans, Fauci’s efforts as a man of science turned him into the voice of reason. DeSantis questioned the member of the White House task force’s motives.

“This was about himself and his own image,” DeSantis told Fox News.

DeSantis is raising funds for his 2022 re-election campaign. Most recently, CNN’s national political reporter referred to DeSantis as a “conservative media darling” who is on “a clear pathway” to become Republicans’ 2024 presidential candidate.

Meanwhile, Fauci appeared to not enjoy the media attention. He received an email on March 31, 2020, with a link to a Washington Post story, “Fauci socks, Fauci doughnuts, Fauci fan art: The coronavirus expert attracts a cult following.” His response: “Hopefully, this all stops soon.”

During a bill signing ceremony on Friday in Ponte Vedra Beach, DeSantis took credit for Florida’s healthy budget and economy. He repeated the same message and didn’t mention Florida received $10 billion in federal COVID-19 relief.

“We are going to end up probably having like $10 billion in reserve once the new budget takes effect, and ... that would not have been possible if we had followed Fauci, instead we followed freedom and that’s the reason why Florida is doing better,” DeSantis said during his speech.

DeSantis said Fauci’s emails show he relied on instinct rather than logic or knowledge. Fauci has explained his opinions on face mask use shifted as data on asymptomatic people who were infected with the coronavirus became available.

As of Friday, COVID-19 had killed 37,717 in Florida, including 36,973 Florida residents and 744 non-residents, according to the Florida Department of Health’s dashboard. Officials reported 49 new deaths on Thursday.

During his speech on Friday, DeSantis also said the pandemic has been a disaster and China needs to be held accountable for it.

“The bureaucrats in the United States also need to be accountable for what they did,” DeSantis said about Fauci.

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.