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Red State
Red State
9 Sep 2023
Jeff Charles


NextImg:Gov. Brian Kemp Unloads on Trump Over COVID Response: ‘He May Not Remember, but I Sure as Hell Do’

Are the gloves starting to come off? If a recent post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, is any indication, high-profile Republicans and conservatives are starting to attack former President Donald Trump over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic while he was in office.

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Even before the primary season began in earnest, many speculated that his support of lockdown orders and vaccines could become his Achilles heel. But so far, few on the right have raised the issue as they have been hesitant to attack Trump directly. Things appear to be changing, as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp posted a response to a video the former president made in which he decried leftists trying to bring back mask mandates.

In the video, Trump said that “left wing lunatics are trying very hard to bring back COVID lockdowns and mandates with all of their sudden fearmongering” about the emergence of new coronavirus variants. “They want to restart the COVID hysteria so they can justify more lockdowns, more censorship, more illegal dropboxes, more mail in ballots, and trillions of dollars in payoffs” in the leadup to the upcoming election.

In a post on Saturday, Kemp wrote:

The fact is former president Trump led the opposition to my decision to reopen Georgia - the first state in the country to do so.

While he listened to Fauci & parroted media talking points, I listened to hardworking Georgians.

He may not remember, but I sure as hell do.

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Kemp’s tweet recalls comments Trump made during the pandemic criticizing Kemp for lifting lockdown orders and mask mandates earlier than federal guidance recommended.

There is already plenty of ammo that Trump’s opponents and other critics on the right could be using against him. But just recently, another revelation adds even more to the fire. A letter sent from the White House under Trump to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged him to reimpose mask mandates and social distancing practices after the state had already lifted them. This further illustrates the former president’s willingness to go along with the hysteria.

Yet, as of this writing, none of Trump’s primary opponents have started hammering him on the COVID issue. DeSantis, along with some others, have made some mild comments in that direction, but none have really started calling him out on the matter. They could be biding their time, waiting until they are further into primary season. But their hesitancy is still a bit odd, considering that Trump remains miles ahead in the polling.

For Trump’s part, cutting a video slamming lockdowns and mandates without having really addressed his prior stances is also questionable. Does he believe the conservative base is going to forget? I know we’re Americans, but our attention spans aren’t that short, are they? 

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The fact that Trump is so far ahead in the polls either says that the base doesn’t really care as much about the COVID restrictions the former president championed, or that his opponents are so lackluster that they are still willing to take a chance on the COVID devil they know.

Either way, if Trump’s opponents want to have a chance at beating him out for the nomination, they would be wise to start capitalizing on his weakness instead of ignoring it and hoping for the best.