Florida Governor Ron DeSantis launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday in a Twitter announcement that was marred by technical malfunctions.
DeSantis, who officially entered the fray capping months-long speculations, said he was "running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback."
"American decline is not inevitable, it is a choice. And, we should choose a new direction a path that will lead to American revitalisation," said the conservative Republican but his initial words were largely lost in the technical stumbles.
The live stream event — held on Twitter Spaces and hosted by owner Elon Musk and tech entrepreneur David Sacks — suffered from audio snapping and "server meltdown" as Sacks himself put it. Over 500,000 people logged into the platform, causing thousands to get dropped through the live streaming.
The event was later launched using Sacks’ account but only 250,000 users ultimately logged in then.
Hinting at Twitter's limited server capacity, Sacks said: "I think you broke the internet there. I think it crashed because when you multiply a half-million people in a room by an account with over 100 million followers, which is Elon’s account, I think that creates just a scalability level that was unprecedented," Sacks said.
Musk too admitted that the limited capacity of Twitter’s servers played into the issues.
Despite the inauspicious start, team DeSantis expressed confidence. "There was so much enthusiasm for Governor DeSantis' vision for our Great American Comeback that he literally busted up the internet. Washington is next. $1 million raised online in one hour... and counting!, DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin wrote on Twitter.
DeSantis also touched upon his conservative credentials in the speech, mentioning his anti-lockdown stance during the Covid-19 crisis in his state, reforms of Florida's education system, saying his state "chose facts over fear, education over indoctrination, law and order over rioting and disorder".
"Our border is a disaster, crime infests our cities... and the president flounders," he says in the video. "But decline is a choice, success is attainable, and freedom is worth fighting for."
"We must end the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party in recent years," DeSantis said at the event. He also took a veiled dig at Trump stating "Government is not about entertainment, not about building a brand." But, never once did DeSantis mention Trump in his speech.
But, Trump, the current Republican frontrunner, did come out against DeSantis stating on his social media Truth Social: "My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working (TRUTH!)" Trump posted, "Yours does not."
The Florida governor faces an uphill task on the route to Presidency as he has to face Trump, who currently enjoys a 2-to-1 edge over DeSantis. DeSantis is expected to project himself as the only one who can face President Joe Biden and the Democrats.
"Our president, while he lacks vigour, flounders in the face of our nation's challenges and he takes cues from the woke mob," DeSantis said.
A conservative candidate, DeSantis has also been instrumental in making Florida a red state, thanks to his dissent against the Biden government's coronavirus pandemic restrictions and propagation of an "anti-woke" agenda.
His policies, including a controversial six-week abortion law, tougher immigration laws, curbs on gender and diversity issues in schools and green-lighting the ability to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, have often found him at the receiving end of liberal critics.