DeSantis says he disagreed with Trump's decision to shut down economy at start of pandemic

·1 min read

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Thursday that he disagreed with then-President Trump's decision to shut down the economy at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeSantis appeared on conservative podcast "Ruthless," where he claimed that one of his biggest regrets in office is not speaking out "much louder" against the initial COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020.

DeSantis worked closely with the Trump administration to determine a response to COVID-19 but was allegedly caught off-guard by the White House's decision to shut down the economy.

"I never thought in February, early March, that [the coronavirus] would lead to locking down the country," said DeSantis on the podcast.

He added that he had not realized a large-scale lockdown "was on the radar."

DeSantis criticized members of the administration's COVID-19 response team, including Anthony Fauci, for encouraging economic shutdowns at the beginning of the pandemic.

DeSantis's state of Florida followed federal guidance nonetheless by closing schools, gyms, restaurants and other buildings.

Trump recently shared criticism widely believed to be referring to DeSantis when he called politicians who decline to confirm if they have received a COVID-19 booster shot "gutless." DeSantis avoided questions about his vaccination status in an interview a month earlier.