Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign began the week by taking aim at former President Donald Trump over his decision not to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
A video the DeSantis campaign released Monday showed multiple clips from Trump’s days on his reality show, “The Apprentice,” which the former president hosted from 2004 to 2015, and included scenes of him using his signature phrase, “You’re fired!” whenever a contestant was removed from the program.
It compared those clips of him firing multiple contestants, in which it labeled Trump, “Reality TV Trump,” to clips of him repeatedly defending his decision not to fire Fauci, in which he was labeled, “Real Life Trump.”
“Today I walk in, and I hear I’m going to fire him. I’m not firing him. I think he’s a wonderful guy,” one clip showed Trump saying during a briefing at the White House, referencing Fauci.
“Should you have fired Fauci?” another clip showed a member of the media asking, and Trump responding, “So, a lot of people ask me that question, and I did it right. Because if you do fire him, you’re going to have a firestorm on the left again.”
One clip showed Trump being asked why he felt “unable” to fire Fauci, and was followed by the former president responding he was “not allowed to” before abruptly cutting to another clip. The clip was too short to provide the full context of Trump’s answer.
“Every time he goes on television there’s always a bomb. But there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him,” Trump said in another clip, referencing Fauci who was frequently criticized for the information related to the pandemic he would share on cable news networks that, often times, appeared to conflict with previously shared information.
“Frankly, you can’t win that one. If I would have done it, I would have taken heat,” Trump added in the clip.
This isn’t the first time DeSantis has taken aim at Trump over the work Fauci did as part of his administration. Last month, he said while appearing as a podcast guest that Trump “destroyed millions of people’s lives” by turning the country over to Fauci after the pandemic’s onset.
When reached for comment, Trump’s campaign pointed Fox News Digital to a video it posted last week showing that DeSantis hasn’t always been a Fauci critic. The video included clips of DeSantis from early in the pandemic praising Fauci as “doing a good job.”
Fauci remained in his position as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the remainder of the Trump administration, and continued working into the Biden administration before also serving as the Chief Medical Advisor to the President and retiring at the end of 2022.