Like some of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets, Ron DeSantis’ debut failed to launch.
The controversial Florida Governor officially announced his 2024 Presidential bid following months of speculation regarding his future. The conversation only ramped up more after winning re-election last November in the midterm elections.
DeSantis was in a conversation with Tesla founder and Twitter CEO Elon Musk moderated by venture capitalist David Sacks — a major Republican donor who supports DeSantis and is considered to be part of Musk’s inner circle on decisions about Twitter.
It was a golden opportunity for the governor to pose himself as a serious contender against former President Donald Trump, who’s somewhat regained his stance as the big fish of the Republican party.
However, technical issues on the in-app platform Twitter Spaces disrupted the highly-anticipated conversation with the app crashing repeatedly as users tried to listen. The social media giants’ servers were unable to handle the surge in traffic.
The Governor, over 20 minutes after the scheduled start, was able to make his announcement. This only occurred after Musk closed the initial Twitter Spaces event and started a second one that attracted roughly 161,000 users, according to Twitter’s public-facing data.
Over 300,000 were listening by the time the over hour event had ended.
“I am running for President of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” DeSantis announced.
According to the DeSantis campaign however, the technical issues only proved how excited people were to hear the big announcement.
“Gov. DeSantis broke the internet — that should tell you everything you need to know about the strength of his candidacy,” a senior campaign official said.
“Groundbreaking announcement. Internet-breaking excitement,” DeSantis campaign spokesman Dave Abrams added.
DeSantis has been subject to verbal insults in recent time from Trump and his campaign and according to his super PAC, the technical failures that plagued the start of the governor’s announcement was only more ammo for the former President.
“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,” said Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for Make America Great Again Inc., Trump’s super PAC.
Along with the Twiter Spaces talk, DeSantis also released a launch video that same evening.
“Our border is a disaster. Crime infests our cities. The federal government makes it harder for families to make ends meet. And the president flounders,” DeSantis said in the ad.
The conversation included a slew of conservative media figures including activist Christopher Rufo, who was appointed by DeSantis to the New College of Florida board and radio host Dana Loesch, a former spokesperson for the National Rifle Association who both offered praise to DeSantis and posed questions in a Q&A session that touched on COVID-19, education, and immigration.
After the technical hiccups, DeSantis moved forward with a speech that went over the number of issues facing the country in his eyes, including border security, maintaining “law and order” and freeing the military of “distractions,” such as “gender ideology and pronouns.”
What does this mean for 2024?
DeSantis’ official entry into the race makes him the third person to do so following President Trump and junior U.S. Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina, which for Trump, could be advantageous.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former friend and now enemy, is also expected to announce a bid soon.
The Trump campaign feels a potentially crowded GOP primary only raises their chances of regaining the Oval Office in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. Their belief is that any extra candidate who joins will only take voters away from DeSantis — essentially splitting the vote between Trump and his closest competitor.
Scott — the most prominent Black GOP lawmaker — made his announcement this past Monday, May 22.
He became the first Black Republican elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina in more than a century back in 2010 and years later made history again as the first Black U.S. Senator from his home state.
For DeSantis moving forward, he’s already off to a great start financially with a super PAC, Never Back Down, which has already raised $30 million in its first month after launching, with millions already invested in boosting the governor’s national profile and responding to negative ads from Trump allies in early primary states.
According to DeSantis’ campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin, the campaign received roughly another million dollars within the first hour of his announcement.