Ron DeSantis campaign stumbles on launch: The Florida governor on Wednesday used a unique strategy for launching his presidential campaign: A Twitter Spaces conversation with the platform’s owner, Elon Musk. It was a glitch-filed disaster.
Ron DeSantis 2024 Already in Trouble
On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida officially declared his presidential candidacy, ahead of a planned Twitter Spaces discussion with the social media network’s owner, Elon Musk.
It didn’t go well, thanks to Twitter glitches that delayed the start and kept many interesting people out of the conversation.
“Mr. DeSantis’s official run for the White House got off to an embarrassing start as the planned livestream with Twitter’s eccentric billionaire owner, Elon Musk, was marred by technical problems and dead air. The audio cut in and out amid talk of ‘melting the servers,’ hot mic whispering, and on-the-spot troubleshooting.” DeSantis began speaking 25 minutes late, prior to declaring “I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback.”
DeSantis did not mention his now-opponent, Donald Trump, by name on the Twitter Space conversation, but he did state that “we must look forward, not backwards,” in what was seen as a shot at Trump and his quest to recapture the presidency. DeSantis later appeared on Fox News for an interview and then segued into a retreat with donors in Miami.
In the Fox interview, DeSantis declared that “The woke mind virus is basically a form of cultural Marxism.”
The Media Makes a Declaration
Semafor’s coverage was also not especially positive.
“The first 25 minutes of the much-anticipated event — co-hosted by Elon Musk and David Sacks on Twitter Spaces — were widely panned as a disaster, with glitches overtaking it to the point that Musk was forced to end the live audio stream and transfer it over to his co-host’s page,” the site said. “The governor was explicitly warned by many political observers ahead of the event that he risked ceding the spotlight to Musk on a buggy platform few Americans had experience using — and that’s exactly what happened, all on the most important day of his political career to date.”
Even beyond the glitch, DeSantis was criticized for launching his campaign on a platform, Twitter Spaces, that most Americans don’t use or even know how to use.
In all, it was an evening likely to be immortalized in future books about both the 2024 presidential election and Musk’s ownership of Twitter.
Trump could not resist the urge to gloat, publishing a video contrast between his own in-person campaign launch with the glitchy Ron DeSantis Twitter space.
“I know Ron. The way he handled his announcement, he will handle the Country!,” the former president said in a separate post. “Is the DeSantis launch FATAL? Yes!,” he said.
Trump’s Instagram account posted a mock Twitter Space room parodying the announcement, featuring DeSantis, Musk, Dick Cheney, Adolf Hitler, the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab, “The Devil,” George Soros, and the FBI. Trump pushed that video on Truth Social as well.
Even die-hard opponents of the former president found the video hilarious, including one Twitter user who declared “Heartbreaking: worst person you know just made you laugh uncontrollably.”
The DeSantis War Room Twitter account, which is described as “Rapid Response for Ron DeSantis,” posted a truly bizarre video Wednesday night, which featured no music, low-quality audio of DeSantis speaking on the Twitter Space, along with repeating and alternating videos of DeSantis- and of Musk, including the Twitter CEO appearing at product launches, as well as incongruous footage of Musk’s rockets.
“Ron DeSantis’ botched campaign announcement is another example of why he is just not ready for the job. The stakes are too high and the fight to save America is too critical to gamble on a first-timer who is clearly not ready for prime time,” Karoline Leavitt, spokeswoman for the pro-Trump Make America Great Again PAC, said, per CNN.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.