It was Ron DeSantis' big night, but that wasn't as obvious as it should've been. Yes, the Florida governor announced he was running for president Wednesday, but only after more than 20 minutes of Twitter glitches. Given the rare opportunity to take center stage and outline a vision for the country, DeSantis "wound up almost as a panelist at his own event, sharing the stage with Elon Musk and his malfunctioning social media site," as the New York Times reports. More:
- A 'De-Saster': "DeSantis' announcement had become the worst thing a presidential announcement can become: a joke," writes CNN's Oliver Darcy. "The Daily Mail called it a 'De-Saster,' Fox News a 'disaster,' Breitbart News a 'DeBacle,' per the NY Times.
- Musk: "The Twitter owner humiliated himself on the public stage in grand fashion, unable to host Ron DeSantis and a small audience for a glitch-free audio-only event," writes CNN's Darcy, who questions how Twitter will be able to support Tucker Carlson's show, with millions of viewers likely to tune in.
- The audience: DeSantis could've had an audience of millions. But only about 500,000 users joined the Twitter Spaces event initially, per CNN. By the time DeSantis finally spoke, just 250,000 were tuned in.
- The irony: The event, which had to be relaunched, "centered on attacking legacy media while simultaneously failing horribly at replicating what legacy media outlets do on a daily basis," per CNN's Darcy.
- Fox News: DeSantis underscored the irony in a later appearance on Fox News, where he spoke with former congressional colleague Trey Gowdy and for the first time outlined what a DeSantis presidency would look like, per the NY Times.
- The message: In the view of the NY Times, it was "wonky." The Twitter Spaces discussion ranged from university accreditation to cryptocurrency regulations. Those talking points may have appealed to conservative social media users, but "most Americans aren't on Twitter" or concerned by a "cryptocurrency named for a rare dog breed," per the Los Angeles Times.
- He wasn't speaking to the masses: Showing why he polls better with college-educated Republicans than those without college degrees, DeSantis attacked ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and CRT (critical race theory), without explaining what the acronyms meant, per the LA Times.
- He only alluded to Trump: DeSantis didn't mention Trump by name but he jabbed at the former president indirectly, promising to build a "full" border wall and targeting Trump appointees including FBI Director Christopher Wray, per the NY Times.
- The big jab: DeSantis' most direct attack on the Republican frontrunner came in his Fox interview, when he spoke of candidates, like Trump, who might not want to debate, per the NY Times. "Nobody's entitled to anything in this world, Trey, you've got to earn it," he said. "That's exactly what I intend to do."
- Donations: Aides said DeSantis raised $1 million in an hour. That's "a sizable amount but far from the record for a presidential kickoff," the NY Times reports, concluding "it was a night his team will be eager to put behind them."
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