Ron DeSantis Kicks Off Presidential Campaign With Elon Musk Event, But Tech Issues Get In The Way
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' new way to launch his 2024 presidential campaign — with a live Twitter event with one of the world's top business leaders — was stymied Wednesday night by the internet's most common obstacle: faulty technology.
But the botched incident, which forced Twitter owner Elon Musk to remove a link to a stream he said had made fun of his millions of followers, eventually escalated into a heated debate about the clash between politics and culture .
DeSantis was supposed to start his audio session with Musk on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET, but repeated glitches and interruptions disrupted the opening space Twitter event for about 30 minutes, alternating with silences and crackles.
At one point, the spec stopped and then restarted, while Musk and others apparently heard about the fall behind the scenes.
During the broadcast, Musk said the problem stemmed from the platform's server load and "scaling issues" affecting his account, which has 140 million followers.MORE: Ron DeSantis is running for president, testing whether he will be a major challenger to Trump
The second edition of the event, which started shortly after the first one ended, ran relatively smoothly for just over an hour.
After being reintroduced by moderator David Sachs, a tech entrepreneur and Republican financier, who quipped, "I thought we had the internet melted down," DeSantis said, "I'm running for president of the United States to see us return to… great America. " "
“We know our country is going in the wrong direction. We see it with our eyes and we feel it in our bones," he said, criticizing current Democratic policies on the southern border, crime and public safety, and the cost of living for middle-class families.
He promised audiences that he would "restore conscience," fight "identity politics," and "build an economy where working Americans can earn a decent standard of living."
“Righteousness must be our foundation. Reasonableness is no longer a rare quality," he said. "At Florida, we've proven it can be done."
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden lacks the "power" to lead, while an "awakened crowd" allows him to lead, DeSantis said. He never named his main Republican opponent, Donald Trump, but he has criticized the underdog culture among Republicans.
Initially, Spaces was listened to by more than half a million users, followed by approximately 300,000.
After DeSantis gave a short speech about why he decided to run for president, the show transitioned into a moderated question-and-answer session, where he discussed topics like COVID-19, his legal battle with Disney ( its parent company is ABC News), She has covered media and immigration et al.
DeSantis has become a rising star on his team after abandoning Covid-19 restrictions and taking a different path for his state. Last year, DeSantis ran for re-election as Florida tended to be more conservative, a change the governor lauded in part for its style. .
He's built a national profile — popular and polarized — by championing LGBTQ issues and other Republican hot spots, including what he promotes in liberal circles as a "wick" fixation.
The same topic returned to Twitter during the event.
Among those asking questions were conservative activist Christopher Ruffo and former NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.
DeSantis defended his signed Education and Parents' Rights Act — critics have called one of those laws the "Don't Say Gay" law — by forcefully denying claims that it banned books in schools.
"The whole book ban thing is a farce," he said. “No books are banned in the state of Florida. You can buy or use any book you want. We have given parents the opportunity to consult the program to see which books are being used at school”.
The governor also responded to a recent NAACP travel advisory against Florida, accusing the group of "collaborating with old media to try to create a narrative" and saying its leaders are hypocrites.
The NAACP warned that the state was becoming "hostile towards African Americans" because DeSantis hated its diversity and inclusion programs.
“The head of the NAACP lives in Florida and several of the board members posted on social media during my governor's Florida vacation where they seemed to be having a great time,” he said.
At the end of the event, Musk said that other 2024 presidential candidates have been invited to the same face-to-face forum and reiterated that he thinks the environment matters because it shows politicians how to proceed without a coach.
On Wednesday, DeSantis filed his presidential campaign documents with the Federal Election Commission. Shortly before his event, he posted a video on Twitter announcing his candidacy for the White House.
"Rejection is a decision. Success is attainable. And freedom is worth fighting for," she says in the clip.
According to early polls, he was former President Trump's biggest challenger for the Republican nomination.
Both the Biden and Trump teams have experienced problems with Twitter spaces, as have DeSantis' other opponents in the 2024 primaries.
"Bugs. Technical problems. Eerie silence. Total failure to launch. And this is just one candidate!" Representatives from Trump's campaign headquarters said this after Trump posted a fake video on the Internet.
“We are so proud of @TeamHaley and our incredible campaign launch,” Republican campaign spokeswoman Nikki Haley cryptically tweeted.
Biden tweeted a link to the campaign's donation page: "This link works."
"In true Ron DeSantis style, his exit as president was completely unprepared. Welcome to the MAGA grassroots contest, Ron!" said Omar Musa, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.MORE: DeSantis 'fighter' brand at play as Trump throws haystacks
Even some DeSantis supporters admit they are concerned.
One backer, a veteran GOP strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "The technical errors are not well understood" and predicted he would be labeled "#DeSaster," but said: "They are making these claims the same." Great. very popular
DeSantis spokesman Brian Griffin released a brief statement Wednesday evening:
“Governor DeSantis' vision for our great American comeback has been so publicized it has literally blew up the internet. Washington is next.
Thel Axelrod, Hannah Demisi, Soo Rin Kim, Jay O'Brien and Brittany Shepherd of ABC News contributed to this report.