Florida Governor Ron DeSantisan outspoken cultural conservative long considered Donald Trump’s main rival for the Republican nomination, is set to launch its 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday.
The 44-year-old Republican governor plans to announce his decision in an online chat with Twitter CEO Elon Musk, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the announcement publicly.
The audio-only event will stream on Twitter Spaces beginning at 6 p.m. EDT. He would follow that up with a series of prime-time appearances on conservative programs, including Fox News and Mark Levin’s radio show.
DeSantis will join a crowded Republican contest to decide whether the party will quit Trump in 2024 as he strives to take the White House from President Joe Biden.
Beyond Trump, those already in the GOP arena include former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. Former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to announce his candidacy in the coming weeks.
Trump continued his months-long verbal assault on DeSantis on Wednesday, claiming in a social media post that ‘Ron DeSanctus’ cannot win the general election or the GOP primary because of his previous votes in Congress on Social Security. and health insurance.
“He was, and is, a disciple of the horrible RINO Paul Ryan, and others too numerous to mention,” Trump wrote. “Furthermore, he is in desperate need of a personality transplant and as far as I know they are not medically available yet. A disloyal person!
DeSantis has adopted Trump’s combative style and many of his policies, but casts himself as a younger, more eligible version of the former president..
By choosing Twitter, DeSantis is pulling a page from the playbook that helped turn Trump from business TV stardom to political stardom.
The timing of DeSantis’ long-awaited announcement has been veiled, with several iterations of plans leaked over the past few days. Some close to him suspected he was providing conflicting information about when and where to root out the leaks. Others believe he changed his initial preparations after news reports about them surfaced.
Musk, speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit event in London on Tuesday, appeared to confirm Wednesday’s event, saying DeSantis would be making “quite an announcement” on Twitter. “First time something like this has happened on social media,” he said, with live Q&A.
News of DeSantis’ impending announcement came as Trump made a video appearance in a New York courtroom as part of his criminal case. A judge has tentatively scheduled Trump’s trial to begin March 25, which falls in the heart of the presidential primary season. Trump pleaded not guilty last month to 34 counts of falsifying business records for his family business, the Trump Organization.
DeSantis was scheduled to meet with donors Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami ahead of the evening’s Twitter chat.
While it is common for campaigns to post their announcements in videos shared on social media, it is far more unusual – and perhaps unprecedented – to post a campaign announcement on a live social media forum.
“Big so true…” DeSantis’ wife Casey posted on Twitter Tuesday, linking to a Fox News story about the ad and adding a smiley face.
DeSantis has become a national star in Republican politics as an unabashed leader on controversial cultural issues.
The governor has sent dozens of immigrants from Texas – via Florida – to a small island off the coast of Massachusetts to draw attention to the influx of Latino immigrants trying to cross the southern border . He signed and then expanded a Parental Rights in Education Bill – known to critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” Act – which prohibits classroom teaching or discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools. Florida public schools for all levels.
More recently, he signed a law banning abortions at six weeks, which is before most women realize they are pregnant. And he removed an elected prosecutor who has sworn not to indict people subject to Florida’s new abortion restrictions or doctors who provide gender-affirming care.
Trump allies scoffed at DeSantis’ announcement plans.
“This is one of the most disconnected campaign launches in modern history. The only thing less relatable than a niche campaign launch on Twitter is DeSantis’ after-party at the resort. ultra-elite Four Seasons in Miami,” said Karoline Leavitt, spokeswoman for Trump’s super PAC.
By choosing to advertise with Musk, DeSantis ties his presidential ad to one of the world’s richest men, who has become something of a conservative cult hero.
Since buying Twitter last October, Musk has reinstated the accounts of prominent Republicans, including Trump and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had been removed from office. Popular conservative broadcasters have flocked to Twitter, with ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson and The Daily Wire podcast hosts announcing they will start streaming on the platform.
Musk himself has promoted far-right conspiracy theories on Twitter, including misleading claims questioning the background of a Texas mall shooter and a debunked rumor that the House Speaker’s husband Nancy Pelosi had a relationship with an attacker who attacked her.
Earlier this month, Musk’s tweets comparing billionaire philanthropist George Soros to a Jewish supervillain were criticized by the Anti-Defamation League, which said they would embolden anti-Semitic extremists. Musk said he would “be more thoughtful in the future.”
Twitter was once Trump’s most important megaphone — the one he used to dominate his rivals in the 2016 primary and dominate the news cycle for years. Trump was kicked off the platform after a crowd of his supporters swarmed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, with Twitter citing “the risk of further incitement to violence.” Although his access was restored shortly after Musk took office, he has yet to tweet.
About 1 in 5 American adults say they use Twitter, the Pew Research Center found last year.
Democrats are slightly more likely than Republicans to say they have Twitter accounts, according to a December Fox News poll. Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to say Musk’s Twitter buy was a good thing and to have a favorable opinion of him.