DeSantis — Joined by Elon Musk — Will Announce 2024 Campaign on Twitter, Formalizing Trump Rivalry

The Florida governor will join a crowded Republican contest to decide whether the party will move on from Trump in 2024 as it works to retake the White House from President Biden.

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Governor DeSantis on March 10, 2023 at Des Moines, Iowa. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Governor DeSantis, an outspoken cultural conservative long seen as President Trump’s leading rival for the Republican nomination, is set to launch his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday via Twitter.

The 44-year-old Republican governor plans to announce his decision in an online conversation with Twitter’s chief executive, Elon Musk. The audio-only event will be streamed on Twitter Spaces beginning at 6 p.m. EDT. Mr. DeSantis will follow up with a round of prime-time appearances on conservative programs, including Fox News and Mark Levin’s radio show.

Mr. DeSantis will join a crowded Republican contest to decide whether the party will move on from Trump in 2024 as it works to retake the White House from President Biden.

Beyond Mr. Trump, those already in the GOP field include the former United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, Senator Scott of South Carolina, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and Governor Hutchinson of Arkansas. Vice President Pence is expected to announce his candidacy in the coming weeks.

Mr. DeSantis has embraced Mr. Trump’s combative style and many of his policies, but casts himself as a younger and more electable version of the former president.

In choosing Twitter, Mr. DeSantis is taking a page out of the playbook that helped turn businessman-TV celebrity Trump into a political star.

The timing of Mr. DeSantis’ long-expected announcement has been shrouded, with various iterations of plans being leaked over the past few days. 

Some close to him suspected that he was providing conflicting information about the timing and location to root out leakers. Others believe he changed his initial preparations after news reports came out about them.

Mr. Musk, speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit event in London on Tuesday, seemed to confirm the Wednesday event, saying Mr. DeSantis would be making “quite an announcement” on Twitter. “The first time something like this is happening on social media,” he said, with live questions and answers.

While it is common for campaigns to publicize their announcements in videos shared on social media, it is far more unusual — and perhaps unprecedented — to hold a campaign announcement in a live social media forum.

“Big if true …,” Mr. DeSantis’ wife, Casey, posted Tuesday on Twitter, linking to a Fox News story on the announcement and adding a smiley face.

In choosing to announce with Mr. Musk, Mr. DeSantis is linking his presidential announcement to one of the world’s richest men, who has emerged as a conservative cult hero of sorts.

Since buying Twitter last October, Mr. Musk has reinstated the accounts of prominent Republicans, including Mr. Trump and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had been removed. 

Popular conservative broadcasters have flocked to Twitter, with ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson and the podcast hosts of the Daily Wire announcing they will start streaming on the platform.

About 1 in 5 American adults say they use Twitter, the Pew Research Center found last year.

Associated Press

The New York Sun

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