WASHINGTON – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ long-awaited entry into the 2024 presidential campaign was hampered by technical difficulties on Wednesday, when the start of the live Twitter event intended to announce his candidacy was delayed.

The conversation failed repeatedly as the platform’s servers appeared to be overloaded, and many of the 400,000-plus users expecting to listen in missed the 44-year-old conservative laying down the gauntlet to Republican primary frontrunner Donald Trump.

After nearly 30 minutes of delay and commotion, DeSantis finally began speaking, albeit what should have been an exultant launch had been utterly overshadowed by the time he was able to make his case for the Republican nomination.

“I am running for President of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” he declared the audience, despite the fact that tens of thousands had left Twitter by then.

As the website tried to get the event back on track, its owner, Elon Musk, could be heard noting the “massive number of people online” who had forced the servers to begin “straining somewhat.”

Protesters gather outside the Four Seasons Hotel on May 24, 2023, as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis participates in a Twitter Space event to publicly announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. (REUTERS)

While organizers attempted to emphasize the event’s success — the DeSantis campaign claimed to have raised $1 million online in one hour — Biden’s team was quick to seize on the issues, tweeting a link to a donation page and declaring, “This link works.”

Trump joked on his Truth Social platform that “My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and working” – an oblique reference to a verbal spat with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The chat finally lasted more than an hour, but technological difficulties continued — a setback that was derided as encapsulating the governor’s recent downward spiral.

DeSantis, long seen as the most formidable contender to Trump’s twice-impeached presidency, has deep midwestern roots, a substantial campaign budget, a long history of ultra-conservative legislative accomplishments, and a spotless record of election victories.

While Trump has grabbed news with his legal problems, DeSantis has positioned himself as the tip of the spear in the struggle of regular Americans against progressive values that he regards as dictatorial and divisive.
Following the Twitter event, the governor had a more typical interview — minus the mishaps — on conservative TV network Fox News, attempting to regain his reputation for order and competence.

“If you nominate me, I pledge to you that on January 20, 2025, at high noon, I’ll be the guy on the west side of the Capitol, with my left hand on the Bible and my right hand in the air, taking the oath of office as the 47th President of the United States,” he stated.

“No more excuses — we’ve got to get this done.”
DeSantis has used his position as Florida’s governor to amass a long list of conservative achievements, including the approval of more than 80 state laws addressing “woke indoctrination” in schools and other public institutions.
They include a prohibition on discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in schools, a prohibition on subsidizing programs to encourage diversity at public colleges, and one of the country’s most stringent abortion laws.
“The woke mind virus is essentially Cultural Marxism.” At the end of the day, it’s an attack on the truth, and because it’s a war against the truth, I believe we have no choice but to conduct a war on the woke,” he told Fox News.

Without directly attacking Trump, the governor used the event to contrast his track record of turning policy projects into law with the former president’s reputation for legislative sloth and disorder in his personal and business life.

However, DeSantis lacks the frontrunner’s national prominence, and his poll numbers are declining as a result of a series of policy gaffes that have raised doubts about his readiness to take on Trump.
He now faces the onerous job of narrowing a massive polling deficit, with Trump posting leads of nearly 40 percentage points after being charged on felony financial charges and being convicted accountable for sexual abuse in a civil trial in New York.

Behind the scenes, the Trump and DeSantis campaigns have been vying for state legislators’ support, while Florida’s congressional delegation has overwhelmingly backed Trump.

However, DeSantis is perceived to lack the natural charisma required to sway some of the 14 million voters who supported Trump in the last tough Republican primary, in 2016.

Trump has not commented on Twitter since his two-year ban for the 2021 US Capitol riot ended in November, but he has been attacking DeSantis almost daily on his own social network.

Trump stated in a tweet on Wednesday that the governor “desperately needs a personality transplant and, to the best of my knowledge, they are not medically available yet.”



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