Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a conference titled Celebrate the Faces of Israel, Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem, April 27, 2023.
Maya Alleruzzo | AFP | Getty Images
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign announcement plans were derailed Wednesday evening by massive technical glitches on Twitter that temporarily kept him from declaring his candidacy.
“Servers are straining somewhat,” Elon Musk, Twitter’s owner, was heard saying on the app’s live audio stream where he and DeSantis were supposed to have a conversation that included the governor’s first verbal announcement of his White House bid.
Musk’s comment came in between crashes, feedback glitches and audio failures that prevented the conversation on Twitter’s Spaces feature from beginning for around 25 minutes past its scheduled 6 p.m. ET start time.
Musk and investor David Sacks, an ally of both men, started a new Twitter Spaces webcast after the original one failed. But technical issues popped in that stream, too, including in the middle of DeSantis’ remarks.
DeSantis had filed federal paperwork earlier in the day, putting him officially in the running for the Republican presidential nomination. His campaign had also released a video in which DeSantis says, “I’m running for president to lead our great American comeback.”
But DeSantis’ unorthodox decision to make a major announcement on an audio-only Twitter tool had drawn the most attention.
The aborted first Spaces event listed more than half a million listeners before it was abandoned completely.
When he was eventually able to speak without interruption, DeSantis began by echoing some of the remarks he made in the pre-recorded video his campaign had released shortly beforehand.
“Well I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” DeSantis said on Twitter. He touched on issues including crime and economic anxiety and slammed President Joe Biden for lacking “vigor” and taking “cues from the woke mob.”
The botched event came as Musk pushes to boost Twitter’s revenue. Earlier this month, he hired NBCUniversal’s former ad chief Linda Yaccarino to replace him as the social media platform’s CEO. Musk bought Twitter in October for $44 billion. He has since cut about 80% of the company’s staff.
After the event, Musk tweeted: “All Presidential candidates are most welcome on this platform.”
A DeSantis campaign official tried to spin the sputtering event into a positive, telling NBC News, “Governor DeSantis broke the internet — that should tell you everything you need to know about the strength of his candidacy….!”
But DeSantis’ critics and his top political opponents pounced on the glitch fest.
“His collar is too big!” Trump wrote on Truth Social, his own Twitter-like social platform.
Biden’s official Twitter account, meanwhile, used the opportunity to ask for contributions to his reelection campaign.
“This link works,” Biden tweeted with a URL linking to his ActBlue donation page.