DEVELOPING STORY: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his presidential campaign on Twitter and it promptly crashed. The Twitter live feed suffered massive technical difficulties in what many called a “failure to launch.”
Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted a one-word reaction to the embarrassing launch: “Disaster.”
Some 600,000 people tuned in for the broadcast — about as many people who watch CNN on any given night.
DeSantis entered the 2024 presidential race Wednesday, stepping into a crowded Republican primary contest that will test both his national appeal as an outspoken cultural conservative and the GOP’s willingness to move on from former President Donald Trump.
“I’m running for president to lead our Great American Comeback,” DeSantis tweeted Wednesday before his Twitter Spaces campaign presentation, which started with technical difficulties and was crippled for more than 20 minutes after the scheduled launch.
The 44-year-old Republican revealed his decision in a Federal Election Commission filing before an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
DeSantis is considered to be Trump’s strongest Republican rival even as the governor faces questions about his conservative policies, his campaign-trail personality, and his lack of relationships across the Republican ecosystem. Still, he has generated significant interest among GOP primary voters by casting himself as a younger and electable version of the 76-year-old former president.
DeSantis’ audio-only announcement was streamed on Twitter Spaces beginning at 6 p.m. ET. He also was holding a donor event at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Miami on Wednesday.
DeSantis joins a field that also includes former U.N. Amb. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Former Vice President Mike Pence is also considered a likely presidential candidate but has not yet announced a bid.
DeSantis and Trump have much in common.
DeSantis, who likely would not have become the Florida governor without Trump’s endorsement, has adopted the former president’s fiery personality, his populist policies and even some of his rhetoric and mannerisms.
DeSantis, just six months ago, won his reelection in Florida by a stunning 19 percentage points — even as Republicans in many other states struggled. He also scored several major policy victories during the Republican-controlled legislature’s spring session.
Hours before the announcement, Trump argued in a social media post that “Ron DeSanctus” cannot win the general election or the GOP primary because of his previous votes in Congress on Social Security and Medicare.
A MESSAGE FROM TODD: I’m already starting to lose weight thanks to Calotren – a stimulant and drug-free weight-loss pill. It’s also helping me sleep at night and relieve joint pain! Call 833-TOP-LOSS for information. Use the promo code “TODD” or click here to order online.