Twitter stutters as Republican Ron DeSantis announces bid to enter 2024 presidential race
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday (May 24) officially confirmed his 2024 US presidential bid. Papers filed with the Federal Election Commission showed that DeSantis has launched his challenge to Donald Trump for the party's 2024 White House nomination.
He tweeted a video to make the announcement ahead of an audio interview on Twitter with its CEO, Elon Musk. DeSantis wrote: "I'm running for president to lead our Great American Comeback."
In the video, he said, "We need the courage to lead and the strength to win. I'm Ron DeSantis, and I'm running for president to lead our great American comeback."
"Government is not about entertainment, not about building a brand," DeSantis said, taking a veiled swipe at Trump, whom he quite expectedly never mentioned by name.
“American decline is not inevitable — it is a choice. And we should choose a new direction — a path that will lead to American revitalization,” DeSantis said, racing through his conservative accomplishments.
“We had a huge audience,” DeSantis said in a subsequent interview on Fox News when asked about the technical difficulties. “It was the biggest they ever had. It did break the Twitter space. We’re really excited about the enthusiasm.”
The highly-publicised interaction of Ron DeSantis with Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces didn't go as planned as the social media site crashed repeatedly, disrupting the plan for the announcement.
About 678,000 people tuned in to listen as Twitter suffered repeated crashes, and Musk attributed the problems to the number of listeners.
The Spaces session eventually resumed, reaching about 304,000 listeners.
David Sacks, a venture capitalist and close friend of Musk, attempted to start the event on Wednesday. He said, "We've got so many people here that I think we are kind of melting the servers, which is a good sign."
DeSantis’ campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin said on Twitter that the enthusiasm for DeSantis had “literally busted up the internet” and shared that the campaign raised $1 million within an hour.
The Twitter broadcast of the hour-long interview lost sound for extended stretches and thousands of users were either dropped or were unable to join.
Twitter owner Elon Musk, who was hosting the conversation, blamed the glitches on servers not having sufficient bandwidth for the huge number of people who were trying to tune in.
After launching a second Spaces from the Twitter account of entrepreneur David Sacks, Musk apologised and said, “I think we’re definitely breaking new ground here. As far as I know, no major presidential candidate has ever announced candidacy on social media this way. So thank you for doing that.”
DeSantis will take on Trump for the Republican nomination. However, it might face challenges in the near future as he trails the former president in recent polls.
A day before the formal statement, Musk said that they will be interviewing DeSantis as he has "quite an announcement to make" and it will be the very first time that something like this is happening on social media.
Musk said he won't endorse any particular candidate at this time, but he is "interested in X/Twitter being somewhat of a public town square".
The Twitter CEO also noted that the real-time questions and answers will not be "scripted".
Who is Ro DeSantis?
DeSantis has an aggressive style of cultural conservatism and has created a national presence. The 44-year-old is quite a newcomer to US politics, having been elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in 2012. In 2018, he was elected governor of Florida.
He defeated Democratic candidate Charlie Crist last November by over 20 percentage points with 98 per cent of the projected vote counted.
He has enraged Donald Trump, who dubbed him "Ron De-Sanctimonious". President Joe Biden referred to DeSantis as "Donald Trump incarnate" in his harshest remarks yet against the governor.
Never Back Down, a pro-DeSantis political organisation, released a video to commemorate the announcement of the governor's November 2022 election victory speech, in which he declares that "Florida is where woke goes to die."
"We chose facts over fear. We chose education over indoctrination. We weathered the storm," he says.
"We fight the woke in the schools. We fight the woke in the corporations, we will never ever surrender to the woke mob. We will be courageous and we will never back down."
Donald Trump targeted DeSantis for the glitchy launch on twitter and wrote on Truth Social: “Wow! The DeSanctus TWITTER launch is a DISASTER! His whole campaign will be a disaster. WATCH!” he wrote on his social media site.
Other declared Republican candidates include Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Tim Scott, a U.S. senator from South Carolina.