FACT CHECK: Video To Show Ron DeSantis Dropping Out Of The 2024 Republican Primary Is A ‘Deepfake’

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A viral video shared on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, purports to show Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis saying he’s dropping out of the 2024 presidential primary.

Verdict: False

The social media user who shared the viral X video admitted it was a “deepfake” in a subsequent post. A DeSantis spokesperson and a media forensics expert also denied the video’s authenticity in respective emails to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check:

DeSantis got into a heated exchange with an audience member during a Thursday news conference focused on highlighting Florida’s protections against COVID-19-related mandates, according to NBC News. The audience member called out the Republican Governor over a recent Jacksonville shooting in which three Black people were killed, the outlet reported.

“BREAKING NEWS: Governor Ron DeSantis drops out of the 2024 Republican presidential primary,” the X video, viewed over 700,000 times, purports. In the video, DeSantis appears to be sitting at a desk, where he cites his “poor performance” at the first Republican debate of the campaign cycle and former President Donald Trump’s return to X as the factors that supposedly influenced his decision.

The video is not authentic, however. Steven Savage, the social media user who posted the viral X video, admitted it was a “deepfake” in a subsequent post.

“The above video is obviously a #DeepFake meme, and was created for entertainment purposes only. Laugh, retweet, and like,” Savage wrote on Sept. 2.

Likewise, Check Your Fact found no credible news reports indicating DeSantis had dropped out of the 2024 Republican presidential primary. If the claim was actually true, it would’ve been covered by multiple major media outlets.

In addition, the Florida Republican Governor has neither issued statements to his campaign website nor his verified social media accounts announcing his decision to suspend his 2024 presidential bid. (RELATED: Did Ron DeSantis Say He Was A Navy SEAL?)

DeSantis spokesperson Bryan Griffin denied the video’s authenticity in an email to Check Your Fact.

Dr. Walter Scheirer, a media forensics expert and professor at Notre Dame University, told Check Your Fact the video was likely created using an artificial intelligence model.

“This is likely an artifact of video synthesis from a generative AI model,” Scheirer said, noting how the audio sounded “unnatural at different points in the video.”

DeSantis has been a major target of misinformation since announcing his 2024 presidential candidacy earlier in 2023. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video allegedly showing the Republican Florida governor being heckled with “we want Trump” chants.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter