TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci during a rally in Orlando Wednesday, describing the top infectious disease expert as an “elf,” and called for him to be thrown across the Potomac River.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who became a household name during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subject of partisan attacks, announced Monday he will leave the federal government in December.

“I’m just sick of seeing him,” DeSantis said during the Florida GOP’s “Keep Florida Free” rally days after Fauci announced he would be stepping down from government. “I know he says he’s going to retire. Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac.”

DeSantis claimed that COVID lockdowns and at-home learning caused “permanent damage” to kids.

“They refused to admit the lockdowns failed,” DeSantis said. “They refused to admit forced masking failed.”

He added that thousands fled states with more restrictive policies for new homes in the Sunshine State.

Fauci has repeatedly insisted that vaccinations and social distancing measures limit transmissions and save lives. Fauci even publicly disagreed with former President Trump over the level of threat the virus posed and was among the leading voices calling for mitigation measures.

Some Republicans suggested Fauci timed his departure from government to avoid dealing with a GOP majority taking power next year.

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