It was supposed to be the big moment. After months of secret campaigning, a book and a tour of the country, Governor Ron DeSantis had yet done nothing: say out loud that he wants to run for president. On Wednesday, he would announce his candidacy in a brilliant way. In conversation with Tesla and Twitter owner Elon Musk, his candidacy would be announced on the new Twitter Spaces audio platform.
It will be at 6:00 p.m. local time. And then comes: nothing. “Does it work?” ‘Good morning?’ “The servers are melting!” Unknown voices echo through the audio channel just before the live stream collapses. Half a million listeners turn out to be too many for the new platform. After 20 minutes, it starts happening again.
About the Author
Thomas Rueb is the United States correspondent for by Volkskrant. He lives in New York. He is the author of the book Laura H.
His announcement, in this unconventional way, turns out to be quite conventional. DeSantis reads a long statement. He criticizes Joe Biden’s policy – “The border is a disaster, our cities are violent” – and sometimes sneers at Trump: “Governing is not entertainment”.
DeSantis says he wants to apply his culturally conservative politics as governor of Florida to the rest of the country. At the same time, a video appeared on Twitter in which DeSantis unveiled his campaign slogan against the backdrop of the American flag: “Our great American comeback.‘
Resume on Fox News
Later Wednesday night, Ron DeSantis gets a rematch on Fox News. There he repeats his most important messages in an interview with presenter Trey Gowdy. It also makes some new promises.
DeSantis says he will declare a state of emergency “on day one” due to immigration at the US southern border. He would immediately end Biden’s recently reformed border policy, while he resumes construction of Trump’s border wall.
According to DeSantis, the United States now faces “secondary issues” such as climate change, bureaucracy and gender identity. The governor prefers to focus on security, immigration and – his absolute hobbyhorse – the rise of the “woke”. It’s the collective term DeSantis uses for the progressive ideology he despises.
His planned policies as president seem to align perfectly with his resume as governor. DeSantis enacted policies that further limited abortion options, made sexual orientation taboo in the classroom, and made guns easier to access. “Woke ideology will end up in the dustbin of history,” DeSantis told Fox News on Wednesday.
Another notable promise to make Wednesday night: DeSantis would fire FBI Director Chris Wray on his first day as president. DeSantis is suspicious of the agency, which he says is allied with Democrats.
With his candidacy, Ron DeSantis is by far former President Donald Trump’s most formidable competitor. He has the biggest campaign coffers of any candidate, potentially over $100 million in donations. The governor is ideologically close to Trump, but presents himself as the most stable and intelligent politician. In terms of popularity, however, he seems to be far behind the former president.
DeSantis’ campaign got off to a good start last year. Republicans had a deeply disappointing midterm election in the fall of 2022. Pro-Trump candidates lost to a Democrat in many crucial states. Trump’s popularity subsequently plummeted, while DeSantis’s soared.
The governor of Florida turned out to be the big exception in this midterm election. DeSantis had won re-election by a landslide, winning voters even in formerly left-leaning districts. In this way, he again caught the attention of voters and donors.
More so pink
Late last year, about 30% of Republican voters said they would vote for him, a feat for someone who hadn’t even run for office yet. It’s not so rosy anymore. Since New York justice announced that it would prosecute Trump, the former president has made his own comeback. According to recent polls, Trump would now receive more than 50% of the vote and DeSantis has fallen to 20%.
President Joe Biden used DeSantis’ technologically flawed ad for his own campaign message and to poke fun at his latest challenger. On Twitter, Biden posted a reference to his own donation page. The accompanying text: “This link works.”
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