Donald Trump sat down with Megyn Kelly recently for an interview and it produced some very interesting exchanges.
Kelly, perhaps most known for her time at Fox News, has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last several years after departing NBC News and starting what is now a highly-rated podcast. She’s also become much more outwardly conservative compared to her days as a hard news anchor.
While speaking to Trump, several contentious topics came up that other interviewers have avoided asking the former president about but that many primary voters have been waiting to hear. Specifically, he was pressed on why he awarded a presidential commendation to Dr. Anthony Fauci. In response, the former president claimed to not know who made that decision.
Trump, in an interview with Megyn Kelly, says he doesn’t know who gave Fauci the presidential commendation pic.twitter.com/LRZnFXqMWO
— Joel Weingart (@JoelWeingart_) September 14, 2023
KELLY: You said the reason that you didn’t fire Anthony Fauci is that he’d be there for a long time, it would have created a firestorm, quoting your words. Then, for the first time in May…
TRUMP: Listen, I also said that I didn’t listen to him too much.
KELLY: I’m getting there, but in May, you started saying that he’s a civil servant, so I couldn’t, technically. The truth is, though, not only did you not fire Fauci, who is loathed by many, many, millions of Republicans in particular, but also some Democrats. You made him a star, 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 (inaudible) 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: 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: A presidential commendation went out for Milley too.
For clarity, Trump personally awarded Fauci a presidential commendation on January 19th, 2021, just two days before Joe Biden took was inaugurated. The commendation was related to Fauci’s involvement in Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s push to develop and distribute a vaccine for COVID-19.
The former president was also asked to address his overall response to COVID-19. He responded by saying “I never got the credit I deserved on COVID.”
TRUMP: But I have people on the other side, I don’t, not my side, though there are probably some on my side too. They say “You saved 100 million people” because I got it done in nine months as opposed to five years to 12 years. A lot of people…
KELLY: You’re proud of it?
TRUMP: No, I’m not proud of it, I’m saying what Democrats think. Democrats…
KELLY: I get it, and I’m not somebody who denies some of the good the vaccines did too, I lived through that too, but of course, a lot of people have been vaccine injured. And that’s one of the question. Those people are mad that they were rushed through and that they can’t sue.
TRUMP: Well, I never gave mandates, and people have to make up their own, you know, make their own decision, as far as I’m concerned.
Kelly’s question centered on the fact that Operation Warp Speed along with an emergency declaration was used to push through the vaccines while denying those injured by it the right to sue. That was a decision made by the Trump administration. In response, he noted that he didn’t push mandates, which is a different issue.
The former president continued by again citing Democrat praise for his policies and by bringing up the First World War, presumably drawing a comparison to the Spanish Flu.
“I never got, I think, the credit I deserve on COVID…”
Former President Trump on Fauci, lockdowns, COVID vaccines, and more. Watch below, and hear the FULL hour-plus interview tomorrow, on @SiriusXM ch. 111 #Triumph at NoonET, and all platforms after:https://t.co/Chw1waHuAm
— The Megyn Kelly Show (@MegynKellyShow) September 14, 2023
TRUMP: There are Democrats that say, “Why aren’t you talking about that?” They really believe strongly. One said, you said, and this is very smart people, they said “You saved 100 million people worldwide.” In 1917, you know, it could have been as much as 100, it ended the First World War because all the soldiers were dying of this horrible disease of 1917. You know, it actually ended the First World War, the soldiers were dying. There was (inaudible). They’re fighting, and they’re dying of this horrible disease.
They said, “You might have saved 100 million people, 50 million people, why aren’t you talking about it?” I’m not talking about it, but what I did do is I got something done for that specific thing. I also got Regeneron, and I got a lot of therapeutics done, I also got the robes, and the leather, and the rubber, and all of the different things, the ventilators. We did a tremendous job, and it’s never, you know, they appreciated what I did with the economy, I got a lot of good marks on the economy, I got a lot of good marks on a lot of things, rebuilding the military, getting rid of ISIS, the biggest tax cuts in history. I never got, I think, the credit that I deserve on COVID.
In the end, it will be up to Republican voters to decide whether the above answers show a sufficient level of awareness, understanding, and regret regarding what went wrong during the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response, including Operation Warp Speed.
Regardless, Kelly conducted a fair, engaging interview. Credit to her for doing so.