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As Hurricane Ian rages along the Gulf Coast, Twitter users burned Politico for a Tuesday tweet falsely claiming Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., never faced the challenge difficult of a hurricane hitting his state.
DeSantis took office in January 2019, and Hurricane Sally hit Florida in September 2020, hitting the city of Pensacola particularly hard.
Politico tweeted a link to an article titled, “DeSantis faces the true test of any Florida governor,” with the accompanying text, “Governor Ron DeSantis has spent his first term becoming one of the most influential Republicans of the country. But he still hasn’t ‘I had to deal with one of the toughest challenges a Florida leader could ever face: a hurricane.’
Christina Pushaw, Director of Rapid Response for the Ron DeSantis re-election campaign responded directly to the tweet, “Read this tweet again and ask yourself where you went wrong in life to end up doing this kind of ‘journalism’.”
She listed several critiques of the Politico story in a separate article, directly calling out the author, Matt Dixon.
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“The premise of Matt Dixon’s story is false, in addition to being obnoxious. Northwest Florida was hit by Hurricane Sally in 2020…Furthermore, Governor DeSantis didn’t just hold briefings at SEOC. He had a briefing at Pinellas yesterday, in Sarasota today,” she wrote, with a link to a past story.
She also suggested that the media applaud the hurricane’s destruction of Florida.
“Florida has some of the best emergency management leaders and personnel in the world. Governor DeSantis and his team are doing everything they can to make sure our state is ready. Sorry to disappoint liberal media activists who constantly applaud the destruction of Florida,” she tweeted.
Other Twitter users offered similar theories, citing Politico as an example of the media entrenching against DeSantis and the State of Florida.
“Here is the media praying for Florida to be destroyed by the hurricane, just so they can have something to make DeSantis look bad,” David Reaboi, commentator and fellow at the Claremont Institute, wrote in a tweet. .
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Rep. Alex Andrade, R-Fla., wrote his own fact check to defend his home state’s leadership.
“Fact check: FALSE. Hurricane Sally hit Pensacola in September 2020, it was the most destructive hurricane to hit Pensacola in 16 years. Here is @GovRonDeSantis at a briefing, pledging to maintain the tolls lifted after our main bridge was destroyed Go @politico,” he tweeted, along with an image from the 2020 briefing.
Conservative commentator Virginia Kruta seemed to suggest that the Politico article was part of a long trend by Democrats and the media to attack DeSantis for any reason possible.
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“Democrats/media attack @GovRonDeSantis on COVID. He wins. Democrats/media attack DeSantis for opposing grooming. He wins. : Shit, we’re out of…ooh, a hurricane,” she wrote.
Sometime in the afternoon, Politico edited the article to add the qualifier that DeSantis did not face a “major” hurricane, and wrote a note at the end, “CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to add that Hurricane Sally affected the western portion of the Florida Panhandle in 2020.”