The right-wing governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has launched his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination this Wednesday: the 44-year-old Republican politician has revealed his decision with the presentation of the documentation before the Federal Election Commission, before an announced conversation with the CEO of Twitter, Elon Musk, reports the Associated Press agency.
Disney cancels plans to build $1 billion business complex in Florida amid battle with DeSantis
NBC News first reported the plan, a chat on Twitter Spaces at 6 p.m. ET that would be moderated by David Sacks, a tech entrepreneur, Musk confidante and DeSantis supporter. Later, various media confirmed the plan and Musk himself retweeted information.
The billionaire also referred to the interview at a conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal, adding that while “at this point … I wouldn’t support any particular candidate,” he was “interested in Twitter being some kind of public square.” where more and more organizations… made announcements.”
In Republican primary polls, DeSantis has remained a consistent if increasingly distant second to Donald Trump.
The former president faces unprecedented legal peril, including a criminal trial set to begin in New York at the end of March next year and a possible indictment for electoral subversion and incitement to a January 6 insurrection. However, he has been able to turn those challenges into a success among Republican voters, receptive to his claim to be a victim of political persecution.
Trump used Twitter to great effect in his rise to power, but was suspended from the platform after January 6. Musk lifted the ban, but Trump has continued to use Truth Social, the platform he created in his exile.
Reporting on DeSantis’s ad plans, the New York Times said Musk would “add an element of surprise and give DeSantis access to a huge online audience.”
But the newspaper also said that Musk would “inject a level of risk into a pitch that is expected to be carefully scripted and ensure that DeSantis’ first impression as a presidential candidate will be to align himself with … an eccentric businessman who has ranked in times as the richest man in the world.
Nonetheless, DeSantis will enter the race with a successful hard-right record as governor, a position the Yale and Harvard graduate won in 2018 after serving in the US Navy, including a stint at Guantanamo Bay, and spending three terms in the US House of Representatives.
Last year he won re-election in a landslide. The Florida legislature has yet to finalize a bill that would allow him to run for president without resigning as governor, but his ambitions have not been affected.
With his sights firmly on the White House, DeSantis has accelerated his implementation of culture war-inspired policies on gender, LGBTQ+ rights, history education (especially as it relates to race), abortion, gun control, and voter suppression.
Democrats and some political observers say the effects of such policies, including a legal fight with Disney over a public education law called “don’t say gay,” will make DeSantis unappealing to voters in a general election.
In figures released this week, the think tank Data For Progress reported majority disapproval of DeSantis among women likely to vote.
Among the issues asked in the polls, 54% of respondents were against the six-week abortion ban that DeSantis signed in April; 57% opposed a ban on books in public school libraries prompted by parental objections; and 75% were against allowing concealed carry of firearms without permission or training, which DeSantis also signed into law last month.
Despite this malaise about DeSantis’s policies — and the widespread criticism of his lack of interpersonal skills and campaign charisma fueling reports of donor malaise — head-to-head polls between DeSantis and President Joe Biden generally put both men at the same level.
Other candidates for the Republican nomination are Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the United Nations; Tim Scott, Senator from South Carolina; Asa Hutchinson, former Governor of Arkansas; and Vivek Ramaswamy, biotech entrepreneur.