Florida Governor Ron DeSantis referred to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the outgoing director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as a “little elf” in a speech sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida.
“You have people like Fauci saying that his lockdowns did not cause any permanent damage to any young kids,” Governor DeSantis said. “I’ve got news for you, it did. And we are going to reap those rewards across the whole country for years and years because they treated kids so poorly.”
“And I’m just sick of seeing him,” he said. “I know he says he’s going to retire, someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac.”
DESANTIS SLAMS FAUCI: "I'm just sick of seeing him. I know he says he's gonna retire. Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac!”
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 24, 2022
The Florida governor, who was speaking on a leg of his “Keep Florida Free Tour,” has long criticized the NIAID head for his handling of the pandemic. In response to a query from The Daily Beast, the governor’s Deputy Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern mocked the journalist, implying that the joke requiring comment from the administration constituted clownish behavior.
Got a question about this from @justinbaragona of @thedailybeast.
🤡🌎 https://t.co/OuEXTrlyHh pic.twitter.com/VWa6Thp4IW
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) August 24, 2022
The 81-year-old Fauci, who is also stepping down from his position as chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden in December, announced the end of his tenure in those positions Monday.
“I am announcing today that I will be stepping down from the positions of Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, as well as the position of Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden,” he wrote. Fauci added that, although he was stepping away from his role in the Biden Administration, he would not be retiring.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fauci was selected by President Trump to take part in the White House Coronavirus Task Force and quickly became the national spokesperson
His time in that role was not without its share of scrutiny or controversy, with exclusive reporting by Timcast unearthing his involvement in a program that purchased beagles from a breeder that was shuttered for animal cruelty.