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Megyn Kelly grills Trump on COVID response: ‘You made Fauci a star’

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Journalist Megyn Kelly interrogated former President Donald Trump this week over his elevation of the controversial Dr. Anthony Fauci during the COVID-19 pandemic — noting that the 45th president formally honored Fauci before departing the White House.

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“Not only did you not fire Fauci, who is loathed by many — millions of Republicans in particular, but also some Democrats — you made him a star,” Kelly said.

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“This is the criticism of you, that you made him the face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force — he was out at every presser — that he was running heard 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?” she asked.

Trump denied knowing who gave Fauci a presidential commendation, which was awarded during his last full day in the White House, Jan. 19, 2021.

“I overrode many of the things he did. He was much less important to me,” Trump contended. “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.”

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“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,” he continued.

Donald Trump
Megyn Kelly was eager to hold Donald Trumps feet to the fire and ask him hard hitting questions

Last week, the campaign of Trump’s main GOP rival in the 2024 primary, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, released a letter from the Trump administration urging him to enact mask mandates and other stringent measures in January 2021.

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DeSantis, in particular, has hammered Trump for his handling of the pandemic, accusing him of letting Fauci and fanatical public health officers run the show.

Trump has countered that DeSantis himself briefly imposed some stringent measures to curb the spread of the highly contagious respiratory illness.

The 77-year-old former president went on to distance himself from Fauci, whom he previously argued he couldn’t fire.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Conservatives have bristled over Dr Anthony Fauci for encouraging the public to wear masks and take the vaccine

“I was not a big fan of Fauci,” Trump continued to Kelly. “If you look at Ron DeSanctimonious — this guy said the greatest things. I can give you articles. ‘That Fauci is great. He’s wonderful. We love him. We don’t do anything without Fauci.’ This went on for months.”

Trump later bemoaned that he hadn’t gotten enough credit from conservatives for his pandemic response.

“We did a tremendous job,” Trump said. “They appreciated what I did with the economy. I got a lot of good marks on economy, got a lot of good marks [on] rebuilding the military, getting rid of ISIS, the biggest tax cuts in history.”

Megyn Kelly
The former Fox News host has criticized other right leaning reporters for fawning over 2024 GOP candidates and hurling softballs their way

Donald Trump
Donald Trump insisted that the pandemic was a freakish event that no one was prepared for
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“I never got I think the credit that I deserved on COVID.”

Another grievance among conservatives has been the development of the COVID-19 vaccine under Trump’s watch, which has limited serious illness, but has not been effective at stopping transmission of the virus.

“I never gave mandates and people have to make up their own, you know, make their own decision as far as I’m concerned,” Trump said of the vaccines.

Kelly and Trump famously clashed during the first Republican debate of the 2016 campaign, during which the then-Fox News star took him to task over past disparaging remarks about women.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump is the undisputed frontrunner in the 2024 GOP contest

Aghast at the question, Trump raged against her for months and skipped a subsequent Fox News debate co-hosted by Kelly.

The two say they have since mended fences. Kelly’s interview with Trump, which dropped Wednesday, marks the first time in seven years that he’s done a sit-down with her.

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