GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis fired back at former President Trump after he claimed former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, "did better" in his COVID-19 response despite Cuomo's infamous nursing home scandal.
DeSantis fired back at Trump on Friday after the former president said Cuomo did a better job handling COVID-19 than the Florida governor. DeSantis called the claim "very bizarre."
"First of all, Florida had less excess mortality than California or New York," DeSantis said. "Part of that is because states like California had excess mortality derived from the lockdown policy, which is really, really avoidable mortality."
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GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis fired back at former President Trump after he claimed former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, "did better" in his COVID-19 response despite the deadly nursing home scandal. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
"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.
"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," the GOP presidential contender said.
"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."
Then-President Donald Trump listens as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Washington. ( (AP Photo/Alex Brandon))
"So, if you could do it again, would he do the same thing?" DeSantis added. "I sure hope not."
DeSantis also said Fauci "should've been fired" by Trump while he was president and that the former president "responded" to the pandemic by "turning the reins over" to Fauci, "elevating" him.
DeSantis and Trump have exchanged barbs this week following DeSantis' official entry into the 2024 Republican presidential primary, with the Cuomo matter being just the latest example.
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Cuomo drew significant criticism for his administration's handling of the pandemic, which included sending coronavirus patients back into nursing homes and then altering the state's reporting about nursing home deaths.
Cuomo's decision to place coronavirus patients may have directly contributed to more than 1,000 deaths, one study found.
Houston Keene is a politics writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to Houston.Keene@Fox.com and on Twitter: @HoustonKeene