florida governor ron desantis officially unveiled his long-awaited Republican run for president on Wednesday in a botched Twitter ad that was riddled with flaws and saw hundreds of thousands of viewers kicked out of the event.
Elon Musk, the owner and former CEO of Twitter, had mocked the announcement for days, but things quickly turned sour when audio feeds were cut out and Twitter staff could be heard chiming in to try and fix the situation. At one point, it seemed like over 500,000 people were tuned in to the Twitter Spaces event before it suddenly went offline. Musk was able to launch a new venue online, but only about half of the original viewers were able to join.
“Man, I think we melted the internet there,” David Sacks, the discussion moderator, said at one point.
Musk, who called the launch “unfortunate,” was finally able to introduce the governor for a “historic announcement,” saying he believed there was value in hearing directly from the candidates for a “real experience.”
“You can tell by some of the bugs that it’s real,” Musk quipped.
The governor quickly turned to talking points that smeared the state of the nation, attacked President Joe Biden and painted a bleak picture of the future.
“I am running for President of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” DeSantis said 26 minutes after the event began. “We know our country is headed in the wrong direction. We see it with our eyes and feel it in our bones.”
The governor’s competitors pounced after technical difficulties.
“This link works”, the Biden campaign wrote on Twitter, directing followers to a Biden-Harris donation page.
A super PAC for former President Donald Trump, who is also running for the 2024 Republican nomination, was quick to share a screenshot mocking DeSantis’ event.
DeSantis filed a declaration of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission earlier in the day and will become a major competitor for Trump. Trump still has complete control over the party, leading by more than 30 percentage points among Republicans in national polling averages, but DeSantis and his allies are preparing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to secure their primary spot.