Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Announces 2024 Presidential Candidacy | Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, breaking the news with a campaign video and a glitch-riddled Twitter event with social media site owner Elon Musk.
DeSantis filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, ahead of his scheduled event with Musk and an interview with Fox News later Wednesday night.
As Governor of Florida, DeSantis pursued divisive culture war policies, including signing a six-week abortion ban and targeting the teaching of LGBTQ+ and racial issues in public schools.
In his campaign video, DeSantis said he was running to “lead our great American comeback” and held up Florida as a role model for the nation. “We proved it could be done,” DeSantis said in a voiceover. “We chose facts over fear, education over indoctrination, law and order over riots and disorder.”
The announcement was long overdue. DeSantis won re-election in a landslide last November, released a campaign-focused memoir in February, and was widely reported as doing personal work during his visit to states that will vote at the start of the primary. next year.
He retains the support of powerful donors, has amassed significant campaign funds and is still a clear second to Donald Trump in Republican field polls.
DeSantis kicked off his campaign with a live Twitter Spaces interview with Elon Musk. The event, described as “groundbreaking” by the billionaire owner of Twitter, got off to a rocky start after technical glitches blocked the live audio stream on several occasions, resulting in minutes of silence.
“We have so many people here that we’re melting the servers, which is a good sign,” said David Sacks, the Republican donor and friend of Elon Musk who hosted the audio event.
Once things got going, DeSantis swept the media, Covid public health mandates and what he called the left’s “woke Olympics”. Reinforcing his hardline agenda on education and immigration, areas where he pushed unprecedented authoritarian measures as governor, he vowed to go further than Donald Trump could.
Bolstered by firm control of his state’s legislature, DeSantis has established a significant presence on the hard-right of the Republican Party, seeking to deliver Trumpist policies favored by the party’s base without the drama and controversy of Trump himself.
But DeSantis failed to convince Trump, trailing in the polls even as the former president faces extraordinary and mounting legal troubles.
Amid widespread reports of donor dissatisfaction with DeSantis’ perceived lack of interpersonal skills — a weakness Trump has happily seized on — a string of Florida Republicans have endorsed the former president.
DeSantis has also become embroiled in a contentious power struggle with Disney, one of his state’s largest employers.
Disney opposed DeSantis’ so-called “don’t say gay” law, targeting teaching about gender and LGBTQ+ issues. In return, DeSantis has sought to remove the self-governing powers the company has long enjoyed around its resort town near Orlando.
The fight both ensnared DeSantis in a court battle and hurt his standing with pro-business Republicans.
Democrats, political watchers and pollsters say DeSantis has gone too far to the right to appeal to general election voters, should he overhaul Trump to win the Republican nomination.
On Wednesday, Maxwell Frost, a progressive Democratic congressman, told the Guardian: “What happened in Florida should scare every person across the country.
“Governor Ron DeSantis, running for president and even within striking distance of the Oval Office, should scare anyone who values democracy, the franchise, civil rights, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“He has repeatedly supported cuts to Medicare and Social Security, he largely focuses on toxic culture wars, book bans, attacks on LGBTQ+ youth, erasing the his story… his quote-unquote “Florida master plan” is actually a disaster for families across the state.
“The next part of his story is to bring the far-right extremist Maga side of the Republican Party to his side to overtake Donald Trump. Ron DeSantis is not fit to be president because he has not once proven that he can and will do the right thing for the people he is supposed to represent.
DeSantis entered Congress in 2012 and became governor in 2018. Before entering politics, he was a Navy attorney. Questions have been raised about his actions while assigned to Guantánamo Bay, the rented prison camp in Cuba where prisoners were tortured in the years after 9/11. DeSantis said he was “a junior officer” with no “authority to authorize anything.”
In April, DeSantis organized a trip abroad. Formally intended to bolster Florida’s business ties with Japan, Israel and the UK, the excursion was widely seen as preparation for a presidential race, an attempt to bolster questionable foreign policy credentials after gaffes, including calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “territorial dispute”.