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DeSantis would have been 'much louder' if he knew early on feds would shut down the country

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Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis says he regrets not speaking out even more forcefully against a federal COVID-19 lockdown early on during the pandemic in 2020, saying he didn’t understand how extensive the measures would become.

DeSantis’ made his remarks during his appearance on “Ruthless,” a popular conservative podcast that aired Friday, when asked what decisions he would change during his tenure as governor.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 5, 2018.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 5, 2018.
(Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

DESANTIS SAYS ROBERTS AND KAVANAUGH LACKED ‘BACKBONE’ IN RULING ON VACCINE MANDATE FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS

“When COVID was first coming, you know, we were actually engaged in it,” DeSantis said. “I was telling Trump, ‘Stop the flights from China’ because we didn’t know what we were dealing with. But you know, I never thought in February, early March, that it would lead to locking down the country. I just didn’t. I didn’t think that was on the radar.”

DeSantis suggested the decision to lock down a good majority of the country amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19 came with no warning.

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks while Vice President Mike Pence, second left, listens during a news conference in Tampa, Fla., July 2, 2020.

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks while Vice President Mike Pence, second left, listens during a news conference in Tampa, Fla., July 2, 2020.
(Zack Wittman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I had Pence and the CDC director down at Port Everglades talking about cruise ships, the second week of March, and no one was talking about shutting down the country,” the governor told the hosts. He also said if he had known the massive lockdown “was a threat earlier,” he would “have been much louder” in his opposition to lockdown measures.

DeSantis also took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci, accusing Fauci of relying on data from China that was not “trustworthy” as federal lockdown orders took the country by storm.

“People like Fauci panicked,” DeSantis said as he expressed frustration with the lockdown measures. “They were following the data out of China, which is not trustworthy.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

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“Fauci funded them at the Wuhan lab, and he lied about it,” DeSantis added. “Why is he not being prosecuted for lying to Congress?”

During his appearance on the podcast, DeSantis also knocked Supreme Court justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh for lacking a “backbone” in their decision on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for certain health care workers.

“On the nurse mandate and the doctor mandate, Roberts and Kavanaugh joined with the liberals to allow the nurse mandate,” DeSantis said.

Fox News’ Houston Keene contributed to this article.

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