Donald Trump and Megyn Kelley recently sat down for an interview that produced some very interesting conversations.
Kelly is perhaps best known for her tenure at Fox News. She has experienced a resurgence of popularity in the past few years, after leaving NBC News to start a podcast that is now highly rated. Kelly has also become more conservative than she was when she worked as a news anchor.
While talking to Trump, a number of controversial topics were brought up. These are subjects that other interviewers avoided bringing up but which many primary voters had been eager to hear. He was asked why he gave a presidential commendation for Dr. Anthony Fauci. The former president responded by claiming he did not know who had made the 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: According to your own words, you said that the reason why you didn’t dismiss Anthony Fauci was because he would be there for a very long time. It would have caused a firestorm. In May, the first time that I saw him was…
TRUMP: I said I didn’t pay too much attention to him.
KELLY: I am getting there but you said in May that he was a civil servant so technically I couldn’t. You didn’t fire Fauci who is hated by millions of Republicans, and even some Democrats. This is your criticism. You made him famous, you made him an icon. You made him the face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, he attended every press conference, he ran (inaudible), and you gave him a Presidential Commendation just before you left. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that done again?
TRUMP: If I knew who had given him the compliment, I would not have done it.
Milley also received a presidential commendation.
Clarification: Trump personally presented Fauci with a presidential commendation in 2021 on the 19th of January, two days prior to Joe Biden’s inauguration. The commendation related to Fauci’s participation in Operation Warp Speed – the Trump administration’s push for a vaccine against COVID-19.
He was asked about his response to COVID-19. He replied by saying, “I never received the credit I deserved for COVID.”
TRUMP: I have many people on my side. I do not, but there may be some on my other side. They say, “You saved 100 million people”, because I did it in nine months instead of five to twelve years. Many people…
KELLY: You’re proud of it?
TRUMP: I don’t think I’m proud of what I said. I was just saying what Democrats thought. Democrats…
KELLY: Yes, I understand it. I don’t deny that vaccines have done some good. I know this because I experienced the same thing. But, of course, many people are now suffering from vaccine injuries. That’s the first question. They are angry that the process was rushed and they cannot sue.
TRUMP: I have never given mandates. People are free to decide for themselves.
Kelly’s question focused on the fact Operation Warp Speed, along with a declaration of emergency was used to push the vaccines through while denying the injured the right to sue. This was a Trump administration decision. He responded that he did not push mandates which is a separate issue.
The former president then continued to cite Democrat praise of his policies and brought up the First World War – presumably drawing a parallel with 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: Democrats ask, “Why don’t you talk about that?” They are really convinced. They said: “You saved 100 million people worldwide.” You know, in 1917, the First World War ended because of the terrible disease that killed all the soldiers. It ended the First World War. The soldiers were dying. There was (inaudible). This horrible disease is killing them.
They asked, “You could have saved 50 or 100 million people. Why don’t you talk about it?” I don’t talk about it but I did get something done. I also got Regeneron and got a lot of therapeutics done. I also got the leather, rubber, and other different things. The ventilators. I think we did an excellent job. I received a number of high marks for the economy. I also got good marks for a variety of other things: rebuilding the military and getting rid of ISIS. I even got good marks in regard to the largest tax cuts ever. I don’t think I got the credit I deserved on COVID.
It will ultimately be up to Republican voters to decide if the answers above show a level of understanding and regret about what went wrong in the Trump administration’s COVID-19 reaction, including Operation Warp Speed.
Kelly gave a fair and engaging interview. She deserves credit for this.