Former President Donald Trump took aim at Ron DeSantis Saturday, claiming the Florida governor and his team are “trying to rewrite history” regarding their Covid-19 pandemic response, and called the potential presidential run by his GOP rival “very disloyal.”
“There are Republican governors that did not close their states,” Trump told reporters while aboard his plane. “Florida was closed for a long period of time.”
“They’re trying to rewrite history,” he added. CNN has reached out to DeSantis for comment.
In March 2020, the Florida governor issued an executive order closing bars and nightclubs, urging people to follow US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to limit gatherings on beaches to no more than 10 people. By that September, DeSantis signed an order clearing restaurants and bars to fully open, which drew criticism from public health officials due to the Covid-19 spike that fall.
Trump defended his management of the pandemic, saying he left decisions to governors.
“I had governors that decided not to close a thing and that was up to them,” he said. The former president also took aim at DeSantis’ shifting posture on vaccines, saying the Florida governor had “changed his tune a lot.”
That claim comes after DeSantis called on state lawmakers this month to make permanent existing penalties for companies that require all employees get the Covid-19 vaccination.
The rivalry with Trump hangs over every move DeSantis makes. Their relationship traces back to the governor’s 2018 primary campaign, when an endorsement from Trump helped the little-known congressman win the nomination. A viral ad featuring DeSantis and his family, including two young children, highlighted his allegiance to Trump.
But as talk of 2024 swirled in recent months, as Trump again …