DeSantis launches GOP presidential campaign in Twitter announcement plagued by glitches
MIAMI (AP) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday with firm words but a disastrous Twitter announcement that did little to counter criticism that the 44-year-old Republican may not be ready to take on former President Donald Trump.
While he tried to project confidence, DeSantis' unusual decision to announce his campaign in an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk ultimately backfired. The audio stream crashed repeatedly, making it virtually impossible for most users to hear the new presidential candidate in real time.
“American decline is not inevitable, it is a choice. And we should choose a new direction — a path that will lead to American revitalisation,” DeSantis said on the glitchy stream, racing through his conservative accomplishments. “I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback.”
While his critics in both parties delighted in the rocky start, DeSantis' announcement marks a new chapter in his extraordinary rise from little-known congressman to two-term governor to a leading figure in the nation's bitter fights over race, gender, abortion and other divisive issues.
DeSantis' path to the Republican presidential nomination will not be an easy one.
He enters the race looking up at Trump in early polls while facing serious questions about his far-right policies, his campaign-trail personality and his lack of relationships across the Republican ecosystem. He has generated significant interest among GOP primary voters by casting himself as a younger and more electable version of the 76-year-old former president.
He did not mention Trump even once in his discussion with Musk that ultimately spanned more than an hour. But he said he was ready to fight.
“Buckle up when I get in there, because the status quo is not acceptable,” DeSantis said.
The ultimate Republican nominee is expected to face Democratic President Joe Biden on the general election ballot in November 2024.
DeSantis joins a field that also includes former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Arkansas Governor 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.
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