Trump: ‘I Don’t Know who’ Gave Fauci a Presidential Commendation During My Presidency

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During an interview aired on Thursday’s broadcast of SiriusXM’s “The Megyn Kelly Show,” 2024 Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump stated that he doesn’t know who gave Dr. Anthony Fauci a presidential commendation during the Trump administration, and “I wouldn’t have done it.”

Host Megyn Kelly said, “For years, you’ve been saying that the reason you didn’t fire Anthony Fauci was because he’d been there for a long time, that you would’ve taken heat, that it would’ve created a firestorm, quoting your words. Then, for the first time in May –.”

Trump then cut in to say, “Well, I also said I didn’t listen to him too much.”

Kelly then said, “I’m getting there, but then in May, you started saying, well, he’s a civil servant, so I couldn’t, technically. The truth is though, not only did you not fire Fauci…you made him a star, this is the criticism of you, that you made him the face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, that he was out at every presser, that he was running herd for the administration on COVID, and that you actually gave him a presidential commendation before you left office. Wouldn’t you like a do-over on that?”

Trump responded, “I don’t know who gave him the commendation. I really don’t know who gave him the commendation. I wouldn’t have done it.”

Kelly then stated, “It’s a presidential commendation. One went out to Mark Milley, too.”

Trump responded, “Someone probably handed him a commendation. He probably — but let me just tell you about Fauci, Fauci was very important in the Biden administration, much less important — if you know, he didn’t want to stop China. He wanted to let everyone come in from China. I stopped it. I overrode it. I overrode many of the things he did. He was much less important to me. Now, with that all being said, he’s been there for years. He was respected. He lost a lot of the respect because of COVID. But he was respected. And, on COVID, if you know what I did, I let the governors run their states, and many of the governors opened up their states. Some of them didn’t, Florida, by the way, was closed. But if you take a look at Henry McMaster (R), he had his state — South Carolina — open. You take a look at South Dakota, take a look at Tennessee. A lot of the states were not closed. And I allowed — it’s the federalist system, I allowed the governors to do that. I also allowed Democrat governors to do that. But I don’t think any of them — none of them did it.”

Kelly then asked, “Wouldn’t you like to go back and try to clip his wings? This guy was pushing mask mandates on us. He wanted the most extreme measure at every turn.”

Trump responded, “Okay, look, I’m not one that blames a system that if you’re civil service or if you have some other protection, that you can’t get fired because I’ve done things that are a lot worse than that. … I fired a lot of people. I fired Comey, and that was one of the great firings. I fired Comey and then I fired a lot of other people in the FBI, and they were great firings because the deep state — and they were at work and they were not good people. But I was not a big fan of Fauci. If you look at Ron DeSanctimonious, he was, this guy said the greatest things. I can give you articles that, Fauci’s great. He’s wonderful. We love him. We don’t do anything without Fauci. This went on for months. … He shut down the beaches, he shut down the roads, he shut down a hospital. He was shutting down everything. He also had long lines of people getting the jab, as he called it, let’s all go get the jab. The guy tried to change history in Florida. Now, eventually, Florida was opened, but a lot of these other governors didn’t shut down at all. South Dakota didn’t shut down. McMaster, South Carolina, didn’t shut down, Tennessee. There were states that didn’t shut down at all. They probably did the best job. … I’m not trying to blame anybody. But he should say, I closed it down, eventually, we opened it, but I closed it down.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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