DeSantis 2024 campaign launch on Twitter plagued by technical problems

Twitter chair Elon Musk interviewed Ron DeSantis live on Wednesday as the Florida governor announces that he will run for president. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
1 of 2 | Twitter chair Elon Musk interviewed Ron DeSantis live on Wednesday as the Florida governor announces that he will run for president. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

May 24 (UPI) -- Twitter owner Elon Musk's live interview with Ron DeSantis on Wednesday got off to a rocky start marred with technical issues as the Florida governor announced that he will run for president.

During the social-media event, Musk was to ask DeSantis "unscripted" questions live-streamed on Twitter Spaces, a feature that supports live audio interviews on iOS, Android and web browsers. A Twitter account is required to listen to event.


However, many would-be listeners were left watching the "Space" stuck preparing to launch. For those who were able to listen in, they heard very little. The audio in the interview dropped out at least five times in the first six minutes.

While the audio was working, Musk was talking about technical issues caused by the number of Twitter users online at the time. The listener count volleyed about 550,000 to 592,000.


The audio recording ended after 21 minutes of dropouts. Musk, DeSantis and moderator David Sacks then made Sacks' Twitter page the host, which worked, mostly. Musk remarked that hosting from his page appeared to have "broken Twitter."

"I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback," DeSantis said.

DeSantis said he chose to make his announcement on Twitter as opposed to cable television to separate himself from the pack.

DeSantis touted keeping Florida "open" during the COVID-19, and alleged that President Joe Biden has submitted to "pharmaceutical authoritarianism." He lauded Musk for being a "free speech advocate" and allowing "the truth" to be discussed about the coronavirus. To that, Musk said Twitter was expensive, but "free speech is priceless."

The governor expressed confidence in his ability to win the presidency if nominated, telling voters that they can set their clocks to his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2025. Then, the audio again dropped out momentarily.

DeSantis, using a phrase often used by Musk, said America must be freed from the "woke mind virus," urging that the country must move away from identity politics and "restore sanity."

Moments before the original 6 p.m. EST start time, DeSantis posted a video online announcing his candidacy.

"It will be the first time that something like this is happening on social media, with real-time questions and answers," Musk had told the Wall Street Journal earlier in the day.

According to Twitter, Spaces are open to anyone, even if they do not follow the host.

Earlier in the day, DeSantis filed his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, listing Team DeSantis 2024 as an affiliated organization.

Musk and DeSantis have echoed similar "anti-woke" rhetoric that has become more common from both in recent months. In one of the latest campaign ads from "Never Back Down," an organization supporting the governor's candidacy, DeSantis said, "Florida is where woke goes to die."

DeSantis faces the challenge of differentiating himself from other Republican candidates who have pushed similar campaign rhetoric, namely former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis' announcement sets up a long-awaited showdown with the former president as both seek their party's endorsement.

DeSantis initially stayed clear from trading barbs with Trump. Trump, on the other hand, already has taken aim at DeSantis in recent weeks, saying DeSantis would not have been elected governor were it not for his endorsement.


DeSantis' decision to announce his candidacy on social media follows Trump's playbook. Trump famously used social media to his advantage while campaigning, seemingly testing public engagement with various policy ideas.

Musk has spoken in favor of DeSantis' policies, saying last year that he would support the governor if he made a bid for the presidency. During an event earlier in the week, Musk reportedly said he would not be endorsing DeSantis immediately.

Since his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, Musk has more frequently echoed Republican talking points and chided liberal viewpoints. In December, Musk suspended multiple journalists who had been critical of him in the past, accusing them of violating the platform's policy on doxxing.

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