Truth Verify: What Politico, FEMA Chief Bought Mistaken as Florida’s DeSantis Ready for Hurricane Ian 

Politico this week inaccurately reported remarks by FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell about Florida’s response to Hurricane Ian, however she additionally seemed to be inaccurate in saying that she hasn’t ever acted politically throughout a pure catastrophe.  

Criswell, who runs the Federal Emergency Administration Company beneath the Biden administration, spoke Tuesday at a White Home press briefing concerning the hurricane that was about to thrash Florida.  

Politico later modified some wording in its story that day, however solely after the inaccuracy was cited throughout a Florida press convention as a strategy to criticize the response to Hurricane Ian by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who has been important of President Joe Biden, a Democrat.  

Politico initially reported:

Criswell acknowledged considerations a few lax response to storm warning from Floridians who’ve by no means skilled a hurricane within the state and those that have beforehand skilled a ‘near-miss.’

However Criswell truly didn’t say something through the White Home press briefing a few “lax response,” in line with televised and transcribed remarks during which the FEMA administrator mentioned: 

I do have considerations about complacency. We’re speaking about impacts in part of Florida that hasn’t seen a serious direct affect in almost 100 years. There’s additionally elements of Florida the place there’s quite a lot of new residents which have by no means skilled such a risk. … 

Heeding the recommendation of your native officers is crucial. And so far as the dialog, the president directed me to contact the governor [DeSantis] early on, earlier than we even did the declaration; I did that.  

My regional administrator is with the governor proper now, ensuring that we’re understanding what the wants are. And our focus is on the present life security wants that should be met. 

Later, Criswell was requested about “something uncommon or any challenges” in contacting native officers. 

“The communication that now we have had with state officers has been wonderful,” she replied.  

Politico’s reporting was so egregious that DeSantis responded to the information outlet’s article throughout his personal press convention in Florida.  

A reporter requested concerning the FEMA administrator’s concern concerning the “lax response to the storm,” which Politico had attributed incorrectly to Criswell.  

DeSantis shot again: “That’s nonsense.” 

“Cease politicizing it. Cease it. We declared a state of emergency when this factor wasn’t even shaped,” DeSantis informed the reporter, including: 

You’ve had counties which have finished quite a lot of exhausting work. You are attempting to assault me, I get it, however you might be attacking these different individuals who work very exhausting. So that’s simply completely false. I don’t assume now we have ever–definitely since I’ve been governor–declared a state of emergency this early. 

On Twitter, the DeSantis Conflict Room account wrote: “This reporter misrepresented FEMA Director’s phrases.” 

A follow-up tweet by DeSantis Conflict Room confirmed how Politico had modified the wording of its story. It mentioned, “good stealth enhancing guys.” 

Politico’s authentic report mentioned:

Criswell acknowledged considerations a few lax response to storm warnings from Floridians who’ve by no means skilled a hurricane within the state and to those that have beforehand skilled a ‘close to miss.’

Editors at Politico modified this wording to:

Nonetheless, Criswell acknowledged considerations about Floridians not heading warnings, particularly those that by no means skilled a hurricane within the state, and those that have beforehand skilled a ‘close to miss.’

Earlier than being named FEMA administrator by Biden, Criswell was commissioner of New York Metropolis’s Emergency Administration Workplace for lower than two years beneath Mayor Invoice de Blasio, a Democrat. An Air Drive veteran, she beforehand labored at FEMA through the Obama administration. 

Throughout the identical White Home press briefing, Criswell informed reporters: “We don’t convey politics into our potential to reply to these disasters.”  

Nonetheless, the FEMA administrator and DeSantis didn’t see eye-to-eye earlier this 12 months, when Criswell denied help to senior residents who survived tornadoes, as reported by The Middle Sq..   

On Jan. 16, tornadoes hit Florida’s Charlotte and Lee counties, destroying or severely damaging 158 properties. Many of the residents affected have been senior residents.   

“DeSantis issued an government order declaring a state of emergency for each counties and requested a serious catastrophe declaration from the Biden administration. Florida supplied help by means of its Particular person Help program and requested help from FEMA,” Middle Sq. reported. “However FEMA denied Florida’s request.”  

In a letter to DeSantis, Criswell wrote that “the harm from this occasion was not of such severity and magnitude as to be past the capabilities of the state, affected native governments, and voluntary businesses.” 

“Accordingly,” the FEMA administrator wrote, “now we have decided that supplemental federal help just isn’t crucial.” 

Ken McIntyre contributed to this report.

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