Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made it official on Wednesday, announcing his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on social media. However, major connection issues caused Twitter Spaces to cut out the feed, delaying the live announcement.
The announcement on Twitter and then on Twitter Spaces, comes several hours after DeSantis, 44, filed paperwork to officially establish his candidacy. His campaign is listed with the Federal Election Commission as “Ron DeSantis for President,” out of Tallahassee, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
“I’m running for president to lead our Great American Comeback,” DeSantis tweeted Wednesday.
Update 6:31 p.m. EDT May 24: The Twitter Spaces feed was switched to one belonging to David Sacks, a technology entrepreneur and investor who moderated the conversation between Twitter owner Elon Musk and DeSantis.
After a delay of nearly 30 minutes, DeSantis got his chance to speak on Twitter Spaces at 6:26 p.m. EDT.
“We see it in our eyes and feel it in our bones,” DeSantis said. “The president lacks vigor and takes his cues from the woke mob.”
DeSantis also pledged to be “an energetic executive,” adding that he will leave “woke ideology in the dustbin of history.”
He also took an indirect swipe at former President Donald Trump without mentioning him by name.
“Government is not entertainment,” DeSantis said. “It’s not about building a brand or virtue signaling.”
DeSantis also told listeners to “Set your clock to high noon” on Jan. 20, 2025, adding that he will win the election.
Original report: More than 436,000 people signed on to hear the announcement on Twitter Spaces and it “melted the servers,” The New York Times reported. The audio platform was glitchy and many listeners were unable to hear DeSantis speaking with Twitter owner Elon Musk.
DeSantis’ move to jump into the race had been expected for some time. Florida’s governor since 2019, he easily won re-election in 2022 and has been seen as the strongest Republican candidate behind former President Donald Trump as the party attempts to unseat incumbent Democrat Joe Biden in 2024.
DeSantis launched his campaign Wednesday on Twitter and on Twitter Spaces, an audio platform, during a conversation with Musk, the platform’s owner. NBC News and Fox News first reported the format for the announcement. The unusual candidacy launch was seen as DeSantis’ way to embrace conservative influencers while bypassing the mainstream media, The Washington Post reported.
DeSantis also sought, in his controlled announcement, to create a sharp contrast with Trump’s campaign-opening speech at Mar-a-Lago in November, according to CNN.
Trump had a sarcastic welcome for DeSantis on his Truth Social social media platform.
“Hopefully he will get the full experience of being attacked by Marxists, Communists, and Radical Left Lunatics of our Country, without which he will never know the kind of job he is doing,” Trump wrote.
The Biden campaign, on its @JoeBiden account, tweeted a donation link that read, “This link works.”
Sacks has already donated $50,000 to DeSantis’ state political committee, The New York Times reported.
In addition to the Twitter event, DeSantis was expected to appear on Fox News in an interview with former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Times reported. A fundraising event will be held at the Four Seasons, a luxury hotel in downtown Miami, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The event began Wednesday and will run through Friday.
DeSantis has been on a nationwide book tour since late February, according to the Sun-Sentinel. He has told crowds in advance of Wednesday’s announcement that “Florida is where woke goes to die,” the Post reported.
The Florida Legislature lifted a potential roadblock to the DeSantis candidacy during its most recent session by passing a bill specifically exempting presidential runs from the state’s “resign to run” law, which will go into effect on July 1, the Sun-Sentinel reported. DeSantis signed the bill on Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported.
DeSantis joins Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and Trump, who previously announced plans to seek the Republican nomination. Other GOP candidates include Asa Hutchinson, a former two-term governor of Arkansas; Vivek Ramaswamy, a multimillionaire entrepreneur and author; and Larry Elder, a prominent conservative talk radio host.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez have been mentioned as potential Republican presidential candidates.
On the Democratic side, Biden announced he was seeking reelection in April. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and a prominent anti-vaccine activist, is also seeking the Democratic nomination, along with author Marianne Williamson.
DeSantis owns a law degree from Harvard and a history degree from Yale, the Post reported. He captained the baseball team at Yale and served in the Navy. After his election to Congress in 2012, DeSantis set sights on the governor’s race in 2018.
He won the GOP primary for Florida governor with Trump’s support, rolling past state agriculture secretary Adam Putnam. Then he became Florida’s 46th governor by defeating Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum by 32,463 votes in the general election.
During his first term as Florida governor, DeSantis increased funding for education, hurricane recovery and environmental projects, the Post reported. In 2021 he dropped COVID-19 safety protocols, according to the newspaper.
In his re-election bid, DeSantis easily defeated GOP-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, who was the state’s governor from 2007 to 2011.
Over the past year, DeSantis and the Walt Disney Company have engaged in a contentious back-and-forth over a Republican-led bill to ban public schools from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten to the third grade, the Post reported. The legislation has since been expanded to cover all grades, including high school, the Times reported.
When Disney publicly opposed the bill, DeSantis moved to eliminate Disney’s special tax status that began in 1967. The Reedy Creek Improvement District essentially allowed the company to function as its own county government.
A new board, appointed by DeSantis, voted to nullify the agreements, and Disney has countersued.
DeSantis’ anticipated announcement on Wednesday was derided by a super PAC backing Trump.
“This is one of the most out-of-touch campaign launches in modern history,” Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for Make America Great Again, said, according to the Times. “The only thing less relatable than a niche campaign launch on Twitter, is DeSantis’ after party at the uber-elite Four Seasons resort in Miami.”
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