Ron DeSantis to face Donald Trump in 2024 US presidential race

Glitches on Twitter Spaces overshadow Florida governor's announcement

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announces presidential run on Twitter Spaces

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announces presidential run on Twitter Spaces
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday entered the 2024 US presidential race, but his campaign got off to a rocky start thanks to technical problems during a live audio launch event on Twitter.

“I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” Mr DeSantis said on Twitter Spaces, after a 25-minute delay caused by repeated glitches on the platform.

“We know our country is going in the wrong direction. We see it with our eyes, and we feel it in our bones.”

Mr DeSantis also posted a campaign video, but his launch will be remembered primarily for the problems on Twitter Spaces. The platform's owner Elon Musk said the volume of people online had caused the servers to begin "straining somewhat."

President Joe Biden's team was quick to capitalise on the glitches, tweeting a link to a fundraising page and stating: "This link works."

Mr DeSantis, who was briefly a Republican Party darling after the 2022 midterm elections, has suffered after attacks by Mr Trump and now massively trails the former president in conservative polls.

Mr DeSantis spoke about Twitter, the Covid-19 pandemic, immigration, crime, digital currencies, his state-run challenges against Disney and what he believed to be federal government overreach.

"Our president, well, he lacks vigour, flounders in the face of our nation's challenges and he takes his cues from the woke mob," Mr DeSantis said of Mr Biden.

"I don't think it has to be this way. American decline is not inevitable. It is a choice. And we should choose a new direction, a path that will lead to American revitalisation. We must restore sanity to our nation."

Mr Musk said the launch event should not be viewed as an endorsement of Mr DeSantis and added that the social media platform would remain neutral.

“I've said publicly that my preference, and I think the preference of most Americans, is … to have someone fairly normal in office,” he said.

Mr Trump was reinstated on Twitter last year after a majority of respondents voted in favour of the idea in a poll launched by Mr Musk, but the former president has shunned the platform and only posts on his own Truth Social.

Mr DeSantis made a television appearance on Fox News after the Twitter streaming event.

The Republican has tried to strengthen his conservative image by opposing several Covid-19 guidelines and signing dozens of laws that take aim what he has called “woke indoctrination”, such as teaching on race and sexual orientation in classrooms.

The Republican ticket is growing increasingly crowded and Mr DeSantis will have to overcome a significant polling gap.

"My pledge to you is this: If you nominate me, you can set your clock to January 20, 2025, and high noon, because on the west side of the US Capitol, I will be taking the oath of office as the 47th President of the United States," he said.

He trails Mr Trump by about 30 points, FiveThirtyEight's polling aggregator shows.

"It is about delivering results," Mr DeSantis said in the Twitter event.

"And our results in Florida have been second to none. We can and we must deliver big results for America."

He is known for his hard-right policies in the state of Florida, where recently passed legislation has taken aim at black, Latino and LGBTQ communities. Prominent rights groups have advised against travel to the state.

The Florida Governor is also leading efforts to control the theme parks run by Disney, which has started a legal fight and already caused some financial losses for the tourism-dependent Sunshine State.

When it comes to foreign affairs, Mr DeSantis has a mixed record of traditional Republican and Trump-style isolationist posturing.

Mr DeSantis recently travelled abroad to visit US allies, including Israel, calling that country one of America's “most valued and trusted” partners.

Having served in Iraq during his time as a Navy lawyer, he has been a sharp critic of Iran and has voiced support for the US relationship with its Kurdish regional allies.

As a conservative congressman, he once endorsed arming Ukraine against Russia.

But he recently drew criticism for calling Russia's invasion of Ukraine a “territorial dispute” – a comment he later retreated from.

Updated: May 25, 2023, 2:57 AM