Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ long-awaited entry into next year’s US presidential campaign descended into a fiasco on Wednesday as the opening of the live Twitter event intended to announce his candidacy was derailed by glitches.
The conversation repeatedly crashed as the platform’s servers were apparently overwhelmed, and many of the more than 400,000 users hoping to listen missed the 44-year-old conservative throwing down the gauntlet to Republican primary front-runner and former US president Donald Trump.
DeSantis began speaking after almost half an hour of confusion and chaos — although what should have been an exultant launch had been overshadowed by the time he made his case for the Republican nomination.
“I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” he told listeners, although tens of thousands had abandoned Twitter by that point.
As the Web site struggled to get the event back on track, its owner Elon Musk, performing hosting duties, could be heard saying that the “massive number of people online” had caused the servers to begin “straining somewhat.”
While organizers sought to highlight the event’s popularity — the DeSantis camp said that it had raised US$1 million online in one hour.
US President Joe Biden’s team was quick to capitalize on the glitches, posting on Twitter a link to a fundraising page, along with the message: “This link works.”
“My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform, in a reference to a war of words he once had with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The conversation went on for more than one hour, but technical problems persisted — a setback mocked as encapsulating the downward turn the governor’s image has taken of late.
Long viewed as the most formidable challenger to twice-impeached Trump, DeSantis boasts deep midwestern roots, a large campaign fund, a list of ultra-conservative legislative wins and an unblemished record of election victories.
While Trump has dominated headlines with his legal woes, DeSantis has presented himself as the tip of the spear in the struggle of ordinary Americans against progressive values he sees as authoritarian and divisive.
The governor gave an interview on conservative television network Fox News after the Twitter event, and tried to reclaim 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 the left hand on the Bible and the right hand in the air, taking the oath of office as the 47th president of the United States,” he said.
“No more excuses — we’ve got to get this one done,” he said.
DeSantis has used his position as Florida’s governor to stack up a litany of conservative accomplishments, signing off on about 80 state laws targeting “woke indoctrination” in schools and other public institutions.
They include a ban on discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in schools, a block on funding efforts to promote diversity at public universities and one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
“The woke mind virus is basically a form of cultural Marxism. At the end of the day, it’s an attack on the truth, and because it’s a war on truth, I think we have no choice but to wage a war on woke,” he told Fox News.
Without explicitly criticizing Trump, the governor used the event to draw a distinction between his record of getting policy initiatives into the statute books and the former president’s reputation for legislative inertia and chaos in his personal and professional life.
However, DeSantis lacks the front-runner’s national profile, and the launch comes with his ratings in decline, as a number of policy missteps have prompted disquiet about his readiness to take on Trump.
He faces the task of closing an enormous polling gap, with Trump posting a lead of about 40 percentage points, despite being indicted on felony financial charges and being found liable for sexual abuse in a New York civil trial.
The Trump and DeSantis camps have been jostling to secure endorsements from state lawmakers while, at the national level, Florida’s congressional delegation has broken heavily for Trump.
However, DeSantis is seen as lacking the natural charm needed to peel away some of the 14 million voters who backed Trump in the last Republican primary, in 2016.
Trump has not posted on Twitter since his two-year ban over the 2021 US Capitol riot ended in November, but has been using his own social network to attack DeSantis almost daily.
Pins hidden in her shoes, head forced down a toilet, kicked in the stomach: South Korean hairdresser Pyo Ye-rim suffered a litany of abuse from school bullies, but now she is speaking out. The 26-year-old is part of a phenomenon sweeping South Korea known as “Hakpok #MeToo,” where people who were bullied publicly name and shame the perpetrators of school violence — “hakpok” in Korean — decades after the alleged crimes. Made famous globally by Netflix’s gory revenge series The Glory, the movement has ensnared everyone from K-pop stars to baseball players and accusations — often anonymous — can be career-ending, with
One of Australia’s two active volcanoes on an island near Antarctica — known as Big Ben — has been spotted by satellite spewing lava. The lava flow on the uninhabited Heard Island, about 4,100km southwest of Perth and 1,500km north of Antarctica, is part of an ongoing eruption that was first noted more than a decade ago. The image was caught by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite on Thursday, and is a composite of an optical picture and an infrared image. The lava is seen flowing down the side of Big Ben from near the summit, known as Mawson Peak.
TIME TO TALK: Among China’s grievances were economic and trade issues related to Taiwan, but both countries emphasized the need to maintain communication US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) on Friday raised complaints about China’s state-led economic policies during a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao (王文濤), who objected to US tariffs and trade policies, as well as issues related to Taiwan, their offices said. However, statements from the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce emphasized the need for Washington and Beijing to maintain communication on trade. “Ambassador Tai highlighted the need to address the critical imbalances caused by China’s state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade policy,” the USTR said in a statement released after the
SYMBOLIC: The bill sponsored by a cross-party group of lawmakers was hailed as a ‘historic moment’ in the fight for marriage equality, but is unlikely to pass Lawmakers in South Korea have proposed the country’s first same-sex marriage bill, in a move hailed by civic groups as a defining moment in the fight for equality. The marriage equality bill, proposed by South Korean lawmaker Jang Hye-yeong of the minor opposition Justice Party and co-sponsored by 12 lawmakers across all the main parties, seeks to amend the country’s civil code to allow same-sex marriage. The bill is unlikely to pass, but forms part of a trio of bills expected to increase pressure on the government to expand the idea of family beyond traditional criteria. The two other bills relate to