Megyn Kelly Presses Trump on Why He Gave Fauci an Award - His Answer Earned an X Community Note


Former President Donald Trump’s response to a question about a presidential commendation given to Dr. Anthony Fauci before Trump left the White House resulted in a Community Notes fact check on the X social media site.

The leading 2024 Republican presidential candidate joined Megyn Kelly for a one-on-one interview.

In one segment posted to YouTube on Wednesday, the former Fox News host pressed Trump on Fauci’s role in his administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly noted many conservatives have criticized the former president for his Operation Warp Speed vaccine push and for letting Fauci have too much power during the pandemic.

“For years you’ve been saying that the reason you didn’t fire Anthony Fauci was because he’d been there for a long time, that you would have taken heat, that it would have created a firestorm, quoting your words,” she said. “Then for the first time in May … you started saying, ‘Well, he’s a civil servant so I couldn’t technically.’

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“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.

“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 herd for the administration on COVID and that you actually give him a presidential commendation before you left office.”

Kelly then asked, “Wouldn’t you like a do-over on that?”

Trump claimed to have no knowledge of the award.

“I don’t know who gave him the commendation,” he said. “I really don’t know who gave him the commendation. I wouldn’t have done it.”

“It’s a presidential commendation,” Kelly said.

“Somebody probably handed him a commendation,” the former president said.

A White House news release issued Jan. 19, 2021 — the last full day of Trump’s term — declared, “Today, President Donald J. Trump awarded Presidential Commendations to the below individuals in recognition of their exceptional efforts on Operation Warp Speed.”

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Fauci was among 52 people whose names appeared on the list that followed, as were Dr. Deborah Birx and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Trump went on to tell Kelly that Fauci was once “respected” but “lost a lot of the respect because of COVID.”

In one clip of their conversation circulating on X, a Community Note shared a link to the Jan. 19, 2021, news release.

“Trump is being disingenuous in this video clip,” it read. “On his last day in office, Trump awarded a Presidential Commendation to Fauci in recognition of his ‘exceptional efforts’ on Operation Warp Speed.”

The former president also went after his chief GOP rival in the 2024 presidential race during the interview.

Trump said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “shut down” his state during the pandemic, drawing pushback from his interviewer.

Kelly, who once had a contentious relationship with Trump, shared several other segments from their interview on her YouTube channel on Thursday.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.