‘Own It’: DeSantis Raises Thought-Provoking Points, Draws Sharp Contrasts With Trump on Pandemic Handling

Because COVID-19 is back in the news thanks in part to an uptick in reported cases, we’re hearing a lot more talk from public health officials and elected leaders at all levels of government about where they stand on mask-wearing, vaccines, lockdowns, and the like.


Considering the consensus from Republicans seems to be that the government should not repeat what they did in 2020/2021 in the event a new pandemic emerges, the subject has recently become an especially important topic for the GOP presidential candidates to address with concerned voters ahead of the 2024 primaries.

Most notably, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have been talking about it. 

As we previously reported, in comments Trump made this week, he claimed he had no idea who issued the Presidential Commendation to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of Trump’s coronavirus task force, on Jan. 19, 2020, and alleged that he (Trump) had never gotten the credit he believes he deserves for the “tremendous job” he said he did in managing the COVID pandemic

In that same interview, Trump also attacked DeSantis, who Trump stated without evidence locked down Florida “for a lot of longer” than the month his stay-at-home order was fully in effect.

DeSantis, as we also noted, responded accordingly by pointing to Trump’s previous praise of Fauci and how Trump used to talk about the Florida governor’s “spectacular” handling of the COVID outbreak in the Sunshine State in comparison to how he has talked about it since declaring his presidential candidacy.


Since that report, more clips of that DeSantis interview have been posted. In the one below we see DeSantis drawing sharp contrasts between his and Trump’s approaches to handling public health crises, especially regarding how much attention should or should not be paid to polling and how in his view it sounds like Trump, in saying he deserves credit, has essentially said he’d do the same thing he did before in the event another pandemic hits.

The partial transcript is from the tweet but please make sure to watch the full video clip:

“He seems to be saying he would do the same thing all over again.” 

“With me as president, if we have these set of circumstances, you’re going to have people around me like @FLSurgeonGen@DrJBhattacharya— I’m going to listen to the people that got it right. But we would NEVER repeat the mistakes of the past…” 

“I think one difference between how he and I look at things: he really likes polls. He really cares about polls. He wants to know what he’s doing is popular in the moment — and he’s obsessed with polling data. I don’t give a rip about the polls. “When I was making decisions in Florida, particularly on the front end of COVID, I was getting hammered. My public polling was going down. But at the end of the day, a leader’s got to stand up and do what’s right.”



DeSantis gave similar remarks in another interview he did Thursday, saying that Trump needed to “own” how he handled the pandemic and vow to not go down that road again should he be elected president:

DeSantis also said that the Trump administration needs “to own what they did” and assured that “those mistakes” would never happen again if he were to be elected president.

“You can take that to the bank with me. But Donald Trump, he’s basically saying he did everything right, and I think that means you should understand he would do the same thing all over again if put in that position. And that would be disastrous for our country,” DeSantis said. 

This in my opinion is the debate all the GOP candidates need to have. In fact, it should be the entire focus of one of them. 

Where do you stand on vaccine and mask mandates, lockdowns, school closures, etc.? What if anything would you do differently from how things were run during the COVID outbreak? 


Donald Trump has said in so many words that he won’t attend any of the GOP debates because he thinks his lead in the polls demonstrates that there is no need for him to participate. Because of that, the debate has to play out in speeches and interviews the candidates are doing throughout the course of their respective campaigns.

With that in mind, it’s crucial that voters pay close attention to what the candidates say on this topic, read between the lines, and do the research to determine if what they’re saying is on the up and up. If it’s not, the next thing those voters need to do is to ask themselves “Why?” Because this issue, in my view, is one of those line-in-the-sand type issues where the wrong answers on the critical components should be deal-breakers.

Related: Right or Wrong? As DeSantis and Florida Braced for Idalia, Trump Focused on Attacking DeSantis



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