WaPo reporter accused of peddling false information on DeSantis' FEMA response

On Saturday, Dreier posted on her Twitter an account of FEMA’s response to the recent building collapse that occurred early Thursday morning in Surfside, Florida. From FEMA’s statement, she concluded that DeSantis had waited over a crucial twenty–four hours to provide emergency relief for victims.

“There’s a saying in emergency management: The first 24 hours are the only 24 hours,” she tweeted. “FEMA was ready to deploy to the condo collapse almost immediately, and included the crisis in its daily briefing, but didn’t get permission from Gov. DeSantis to get on the ground for a full day.”

FEMA’s account stated that there were no requests for state of FEMA assistance within twenty-four hours of the collapse. However, reports have since added more context to the account.

On Sunday, DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw responded to the tweet, claiming Dreier left out crucial details from her tweets. She also added that Dreier did not ask her or DeSantis for a comment prior to her post. 

“This is missing important context, @hannahdreier never asked me for comment,” Pushaw tweeted. “emergency response started within minutes of the disaster led by Miami Dade County, amazing first responders. County mayor signed local emergency [declaration] 4:40 & @GovRonDeSantis signed [executive order] less than 1hr later.”


She also posted a document proving that the Miami-Dade County state of emergency was not signed by Miami-Dade County Mayor Danielle Levine Cava, a Democrat, until 4:33 p.m. ET, over twelve hours after the initial collapse. DeSantis signed an emergency order at approximately 5:32 p.m. ET, less than one hour later.

Other accounts also pointed out that over seventy local units were immediately dispatched onto the scene following the collapse. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett has since been quoted regarding the response team, “We don’t have a resource problem, we have a luck problem.”

Pushaw stated that she has contacted Dreier for a retraction but has yet to receive a response.

The official death toll of the building collapse has grown to nine people as of Sunday. Approximately 152 are still unaccounted for as rescue teams continued to survey the area. No official cause has been given yet for why the building collapsed but there was a 2018 engineering report which showed the building had “major structural damage” to a concrete slab below its pool deck that needed extensive repairs.

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