Ron DeSantis launches 2024 campaign with embarrassing tech snafu as Trump looms large

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign Wednesday with an uphill battle looming against front-runner Donald Trump — and amid embarrassing glitches on the much-hyped Twitter forum he chose to give his launch speech.

Fresh off a landslide reelection win and proudly touting a record of right-wing culture war victories, DeSantis entered the race as a clear second choice of Republicans hoping to oust President Biden from the White House.


A high-profile “Twitter Space” session was set to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday with DeSantis launching his campaign alongside Twitter owner Elon Musk.

Instead, hundreds of thousands of users heard long stretches of silence punctuated by Musk commenting, “We’ve got just a massive number people online, so servers are straining somewhat.”


By about 6:30, Twitter launched a new Space and DeSantis declared his candidacy.

“I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” he said.

DeSantis was then asked why he chose Twitter to make his announcement, prompting one of many occasions during the evening that Musk and his social media company were lavishly praised.

The governor said he likes to “cut against the grain,” adding that he learned to be flexible while navigating Florida through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Podcaster David Sacks, who moderated the interview, asked DeSantis about an NAACP travel advisory warning the state is “openly hostile toward African Americans,” over the weekend.

“Claiming Florida is unsafe is a total farce,” DeSantis said, blasting “legacy media” and again praising Twitter.

Musk, a Republican, eagerly agreed traditional news outlets pale in comparison to his platform. The discussion also touched on how the pandemic was covered by media outlets, COVID lockdowns and complaints of government oversight.


DeSantis was asked about his ongoing feud with Disney, which he accused of dealing in “gender ideology” and taking its laissez-faire relationship with Florida for granted. He argued the entertainment brand wants “special privileges.”

The governor said Disney World should be grateful he made it possible for them to operate during the pandemic while Disneyland, in California, faced tougher restrictions.

As the interview wound down, DeSantis vowed to build a wall on the nation’s border with Mexico, which was a cornerstone of Trump’s past two campaigns.

“For me, it is not a campaign slogan where that can get in then forget about it,” he said about dealing with immigration.

DeSantis’ first television appearance as a candidate was scheduled to take place on Fox News following his Twitter talk. That network was fiercely supportive of Trump’s 2020 reelection efforts.

Now that he’s officially a candidate, DeSantis will seek to recapture the buzz that he had at the end of 2022 before Trump started flexing his muscle to recapture the frontrunner’s mantle.


Once tied with Trump in polls, DeSantis has fallen to a distant second place, although he maintains a wide lead over rivals like former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

The governor has spent the past few months energetically stamping a hardline agenda on the Sunshine State, roping the GOP legislature into his signature war on “woke” progressive ideas on issues like abortion, vaccines and LGBTQ rights.

The goal appears to be preventing anyone from running to his right in the GOP primary, while showing himself off as a younger and more attractive option to Trump.

DeSantis has so far failed to respond to Trump’s aggressive personal attack.

The former president took to his Truth Social platform to mock DeSantis on Wednesday night, writing, “His collar is too big!”


The technical snafu also drew mockery from President Biden, whose account tweeted a link to donate to his campaign with the message: “This link works.”

DeSantis allies note that it is still early in the campaign and their candidate still has plenty of time to show he can hold his own against Trump.

The 42-year-old candidate grew up in the Tampa Bay area and won a Republican seat in Congress in 2012. Married with two children, he often shows off his family and talks about how their faith helped his wife, Casey, battle cancer.


The new governor staked a claim as a strong supporter of Trump. He mostly took right-wing stands on issues during the COVID pandemic, rapidly moving to reopen the state’s tourism dependent economy even as the state grappled with high illness and death rates.

After delivering Florida’s votes for Trump’s failed reelection bid by a healthy 3% margin, DeSantis turned to burnishing his own credentials for a second term in Tallahassee and a possible 2024 White House run.


Shortly before DeSantis met with Musk, Trump snarkily welcomed “‘Ron DeSanctimonious” to the race with a barrage of insulting rants posted to Truth Social. He again attacked his opponent as “DISLOYAL!!!”