Ron DeSantis to announce 2024 presidential race with Elon Musk on Twitter

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida plans to announce the start of his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday in a live Twitter audio chat with Elon Musk, the platform’s polarizing owner, according to people familiar with his plans.

Mr. DeSantis’ entry into the Republican primary race against former President Donald J. Trump was widely expected, but the decision to do so with Mr. Musk adds a surprising element and gives Mr. DeSantis access to a large audience online. NBC News first reported the plans.

The Spaces Twitter event, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. EST, injects a level of risk into a rollout that would need to be carefully scripted and ensures that Mr. DeSantis’ first impression as a presidential candidate will align himself with Mr. Musk, an eccentric businessman who has sometimes ranked himself as the richest man in the world.

Mr. DeSantis is expected to appear later on Fox News in an interview with Trey Gowdy, a former congressman from South Carolina, according to the network.

Mr. Musk appeared to confirm the news on Tuesday by retweeting a Fox News reporter who had shared news of the planned Twitter space with Mr. DeSantis. The governor also gathered donors on Wednesday at the Four Seasons in Miami.

The conversation with Mr. Musk will be moderated by David Sacks, a Republican donor who is a DeSantis supporter and close to Mr. Musk.

Mr Musk said he voted for President Biden in the 2020 election but has since criticized him and his administration, which has a frosty relationship with Tesla, his electric car company. The billionaire said it was difficult for Mr Biden to keep in touch with voters at the age of 80.

Asked about Mr Biden in an interview on CNBC last week, Mr Musk said he just wanted “a normal human being” to lead the country.

“It’s not just a question of, do they share your beliefs?” he said. “But are they good at getting things done?”

While Mr Musk has called himself a moderate who has voted for the Democrats in the past, he has shifted his support in recent years to the right. On Twitter, he engaged and shared right-wing conspiracy theories, including one about the October attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of former President Nancy Pelosi.

Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, Mr. Musk called the Democratic Party “division and hatredand said he would vote for Republican candidates. The Daily Beast later reported that Mr Musk did not vote midterm.

Mr. Musk has not been shy about expressing his support for Mr. DeSantis, and has done so several times over the past year. Last July, Mr. Musk tweeted that the Governor of Florida would “win easily” if he faces Mr. Biden in 2024. And in November, he answered in the affirmative when asked by a Twitter user if he would support Mr. DeSantis in that year’s election.

Last summer, when Mr. DeSantis was asked about the potential support of Mr. Musk, the governor of Florida crack“I salute the support of African Americans. What can I say? (Mr. Musk is white and originally from South Africa.)

Over the years, Mr. Musk has donated to Republican and Democratic politicians, but in relatively small amounts. His biggest contribution was $50,000 to the 2015 re-election campaign of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the brother of friend businessman Ari Emanuel.

In Florida, Mr. DeSantis backed legislation designed, in his words, to protect people from “Silicon Valley elites.”

This year, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that allows consumers to opt out of sharing their data online with big tech companies, among other privacy measures. This so-called Florida Digital Bill of Rights only applies to companies that make more than $1 billion in “global gross annual revenue.”

DeSantis also criticized Silicon Valley companies for their efforts to remove misinformation from their platforms, which he likened to an attack on free speech and truth undertaken in concert with government officials.

“You’ve seen the administrative state colluding with big tech to censor truthful information, whether it’s people attacking Covid lockdowns, whether it’s them questioning the effectiveness masks or school closures,” DeSantis said in an April speech to the Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank. “There has been a concerted effort by big tech companies to do what the government is never allowed to do directly.”

He has also privately called for Google to break up, according to a ProPublica report, putting him in line with some liberal critics of big tech.


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