Trump: I Don’t Regret How I Handled COVID

During an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier earlier this week, former President Donald Trump defended his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump has faced criticism on both sides of the aisle for his handling of the pandemic, especially the lockdowns. While the left attacked him for not locking down the entire country for the duration of the pandemic, conservatives condemned him for not forcing the country to stay open to protect Americans’ livelihoods and freedoms. The former president did support a short lockdown in the beginning — “15 days to slow the spread.” However, he later changed his position, and allowed each governor to handle the issue their own way.

He made the comments during the interview that aired during Tuesday’s broadcast of “Special Report,” responding to a question from Baier.

“So, it is a big part of that spending, COVID. Do you have regrets about how you handled that?” the Fox News host asked.

“No,” Trump responded, shaking his head.

Baier pressed Trump about the issue, citing criticism of the 2024 presidential candidate from his Republican rivals about the lockdowns.

“And do you have regrets about doing that?” he asked.

In response, Trump noted that he had left the matter of lockdowns and COVID restrictions up to the governors of each state — citing the different responses of several governors, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump’s top rival in the Republican primary.

“I gave the governors the options,” he said. “For instance, Henry McMaster (R) of South Carolina…he didn’t shut it down. Tennessee didn’t shut it down. South Dakota didn’t shut it down. Georgia shut it down for a little while, but not much. They did a good job. … It’s a federalist system. I told all governors, you do what you want, you can shut it down or not. Florida, by the way, he shut it down tight, no highways, no beaches, no this.”

Trump also admitted during the interview that Republicans didn’t like his promotion of the COVID vaccine, though he made sure to emphasize that he left the ultimate decision on the vaccine up to the governors — he didn’t try to force anyone to get vaccinated via mandates like President Joe Biden and Democrat governors did.

“Because people love the vaccines and people hate the vaccines,” he said. “But conservatives aren’t — and I understand both sides of it by the way. I understand both sides very well. What I didn’t do is the mandates. The mandates and the vaccines don’t go. And you had these governors mandate it. … Ron [DeSantis] had lines of people trying to get the vaccine. He set up whole things.”

“But really, on the vaccines, I let the governors make their decisions,” Trump added. “But you have a lot of people that love the vaccines, I mean, you do. They happen to be more Democrat than they are Republican.”

Trump later threw shade at Fox News during the interview, calling out the network for losing viewership in recent months because of their shift toward the left.

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