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Biden didn’t blame DeSantis for hurricane

September 30, 2022 GMT
President Joe Biden speaks about Hurricane Ian during a visit to FEMA headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Washington. On Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, The Associated Press reported on a widely shared post falsely claiming Biden blamed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the hurricane. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden speaks about Hurricane Ian during a visit to FEMA headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Washington. On Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, The Associated Press reported on a widely shared post falsely claiming Biden blamed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the hurricane. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden speaks about Hurricane Ian during a visit to FEMA headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Washington. On Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, The Associated Press reported on a widely shared post falsely claiming Biden blamed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the hurricane. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden speaks about Hurricane Ian during a visit to FEMA headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Washington. On Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, The Associated Press reported on a widely shared post falsely claiming Biden blamed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the hurricane. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden speaks about Hurricane Ian during a visit to FEMA headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Washington. On Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, The Associated Press reported on a widely shared post falsely claiming Biden blamed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the hurricane. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

CLAIM: President Joe Biden went on air to blame Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for Hurricane Ian.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Biden has made no such accusation. The Democratic president and the Republican Florida governor coordinated before the hurricane hit and again on Thursday morning, and Biden has said plans to visit Florida and meet with DeSantis. Biden declared an emergency for the state before the storm hit and declared a major disaster in parts of Florida early Thursday at DeSantis’ request, The Associated Press reported.

THE FACTS: As southwest Florida surveys the destruction Hurricane Ian left behind when it pummeled the region on Wednesday, a widely shared Facebook post is distorting the U.S. president’s response to the disaster.

“Watch Biden pulls DISGUSTING stunt on air to blame DeSantis for ‘h.urricane’...it doesn’t go well,” reads the caption of a video viewed more than 50,000 times.

The 30-minute video, composed of several clips from the conservative TV channel Newsmax, contains no supporting evidence that Biden pulled any such stunt.

Biden has not made any public comments placing blame for the hurricane on DeSantis, a review of White House transcripts showed. Biden spoke with DeSantis both before and after the hurricane hit, and on Thursday he said he would visit Florida and meet with the governor when “conditions allow.”

The president declared an emergency for Florida on Saturday, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide assistance to protect lives and property. Following up early Thursday, he declared a major disaster in parts of Florida, freeing up additional federal assistance to state and local governments and individuals.

Biden on Thursday said that DeSantis, with whom he has clashed over politics, was “extremely happy” with the federal response. The president said “this is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically. This is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses.”

The AP has previously debunked misleading claims that Biden called for Floridians to prepare for Hurricane Ian by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The claims stem from remarks Biden made in 2021 when he urged people in hurricane-prone states to get vaccinated in case they needed to evacuate or stay in shelter, but didn’t suggest vaccines could protect people from hurricanes.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.