Fact Check

DeSantis Deepfake Imagines a 2024 Presidential Campaign Amid Trump Indictment

The Florida governor also didn't say “Hail Hydra!”

Published Mar 31, 2023

 (Screenshot via ramble_rants/Twitter)
Image Via Screenshot via ramble_rants/Twitter
After former U.S. President Trump was indicted on hush-money charges on March 30, 2023, a video was recorded of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis saying "people have no choice but to accept" him as a GOP presidential candidate, exclaiming "Hail Hydra!"

The video in which DeSantis purportedly said these words is a deepfake. There is no evidence that he made such a statement to reporters.

On March 30, 2023, former U.S. President Donald Trump was indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney's office, with charges centered around his role in covering up hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Trump became the first ex-president to be indicted on criminal charges as a result. 

Since the news broke, a video shared by @ramble_rants featuring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' alleged reaction went viral. He appears to say:

Today, we're seeing the success of our una-party "Never Trump" campaign. Yes, we're 30 points behind in polling with zero credibility, but now Trump's been indicted. Now the people have no choice but to accept me as their assigned candidate, and finally we can sweep the GOP establishment back into power.

He ended the comments with "Hail Hydra!" a reference to the fictional villainous Marvel organization from the comic books and movies, which is often compared to Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party. 

This video is deepfake; in other words, it was the result of someone slightly editing real footage of DeSantis and pairing it with fictitious audio. This is evidenced by the odd manner in which DeSantis' lips move as well as the fact that there is no evidence he has said this in the media. If DeSantis did indeed use these words, it would have been a much bigger story in reliable news outlets. We are also not sure where the original video came from, though it appears similar to the outfit and background at this event on March 1, 2023, where DeSantis spoke about his book, "The Courage to be Free."

DeSantis actually responded to the indictment news by calling it "Un-American," a marked difference from the DeSantis in the video. He added, "Florida will not assist in an extradition request."

Prior to the indictment, he had said he would not get involved in "some type of manufactured circus by some Soros DA," adding, "the Manhattan district attorney is a Soros-funded prosecutor." DeSantis was referring to liberal billionaire George Soros who supported Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg's campaign for DA.

We have covered how to spot deepfakes in the past, including looking carefully at the mouth of the speaker, noticing any discoloration, and noting the source of the video. 

Given that DeSantis did not actually say those words and the video is a deepfake, we rate this claim as "False." 


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Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.