August 17, 2022

Footage of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis arguing with Sean Hannity of Fox News about whether the search of Mar-a-Lago should be called a “raid” went viral on Twitter. But the tense exchange ripped DeSantis’ real comments about defining a raid out of context.

“Ron DeSantis went on Hannity and things got SPICY,” Tim Burke, a former journalist at The Daily Beast, Deadspin and Gawker, posted on his popular Twitter account. Burke, who now operates a media and political consulting firm, is known for finding interesting and sometimes obscure video clips and sharing them with his 110,00 Twitter followers.

The video was satirical, as Burke made clear. Still, the tweet attracted the ire of high-profile conservatives, who demanded Twitter remove it.

Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for DeSantis’ campaign, called the video “political misinformation.” Hannity asked Twitter to step in, warning viewers that the incident “never happened.” Twitter later marked the video as “manipulated media,” highlighting fact-checks by Reuters and the Associated Press.

The clip is a composite of two distinct exchanges spliced together to look as if DeSantis and Hannity are talking to one another.

DeSantis appears in a window as if he is being interviewed by Hannity. Head cocked and forehead wrinkled, DeSantis tells Hannity: “It is not a raid. They were serving valid process in accordance with the laws and Constitution of the United States.”

Meanwhile, Hannity’s footage is rewound, with his hand moving back and forth in a motion that one user likened to a DJ. As the video goes on, DeSantis is clearly frozen.

The footage of Hannity and Lara Trump came from an Aug. 9 segment about the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, estate, Mar-a-Lago.

DeSantis’ remarks are unrelated to Mar-a-Lago. In a 2020 press conference, DeSantis berated a reporter for characterizing a law enforcement search of the home of Rebekah Jones, a former data scientist for the Florida Department of Health, as a “raid.”

“They did a search warrant,” DeSantis said of the search of Jones’ home. “Why did they do a search warrant on the house? Because her IP address was linked to the felony. What were they supposed to do? Just ignore it? Of course not.”

An IP address (IP stands for internet protocol)  is a unique address that identifies a device on the internet or a local network.

Jones garnered national attention when she claimed the Florida Department of Health altered COVID-19 case data. She was ultimately fired for “insubordination,” and an investigation later found no evidence to substantiate her claim.

Jones also faced criminal charges for illegally using the state’s computer system — leading to the search warrant DeSantis referenced — and is now vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.

DeSantis’ clip resurfaced on Twitter after he called the Mar-a-Lago search a “raid” and decried President Joe Biden’s “weaponization of federal agencies” against political opponents.

“The federal Regime is targeting those it dislikes for disfavored treatment. They are demanding we get in line or face the consequences,” DeSantis said in a fundraising email. “This mirrors a Banana Republic.”

Burke later said his clip was intended to highlight the different approaches DeSantis took when describing a search warrant executed in the Jones case and that executed in the Trump case.

“I have a rule for any kind of silly project like that: If I spend more than 15 minutes on it, I’m working too hard,” Burke told PolitiFact. “I still don’t quite understand how anybody could look at it and think it was real.”

Burke noted that the “same five frames” of Hannity appear for about 90 seconds and that it’s “daytime where Ron DeSantis is and nighttime where Sean Hannity is.”

Our ruling

A video appeared to show DeSantis arguing with Hannity about whether the search of Mar-a-Lago should be called a “raid.”

The footage pieced together separate interviews to make a satirical point about how DeSantis used the term “raid” differently for Trump than he did a coronavirus critic in 2020.

It wasn’t a real interview. We rate claims that say it was False.

This article was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for these fact checks here and more of their fact checks here.

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Yacob Reyes is a Florida-born reporter of Puerto Rican descent covering misinformation for PolitiFact. Previously, he worked as a reporter for Axios, where he covered…
Yacob Reyes

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