Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) launched his 2024 presidential campaign through a Twitter event with Elon Musk on Wednesday night.
DeSantis filed paperwork to run for president on Wednesday morning. He made the official announcement through the livestreamed conversation with Musk, a 1997 College and Wharton graduate.
The announcement came shortly after Musk said he would step down as CEO of Twitter. He announced his decision in a tweet earlier this month.
In a later tweet, Musk welcomed Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter. Yaccarino previously worked at NBCUniversal and has “deep ties” to the advertising industry, according to the Associated Press. Musk said that Yaccarino will focus on business operations, while his new role as Twitter's executive chairman and chief technology officer at will allow him to focus on product design.
Soon after the purchase of the platform for $44 billion late last year, Musk told a Delaware court that he was not interested in the role of CEO at any company.
In December 2022, Musk launched a poll on Twitter asking users if he should step down as head of the social media platform, and pledged to follow through with the results of the poll. 17.5 million votes were cast by Twitter users in the poll, with 57.5% in favor of Musk stepping down as CEO of Twitter.
Not long after Musk’s announcement, presidential hopeful DeSantis said he would officially announce his presidential bid in a discussion with Musk. The event took place on Twitter Spaces, the site’s platform for audio chats, on Wednesday evening, and was followed by an interview with Fox News.
Live coverage of the event from The New York Times reported that “like any work conference call, there [was] horrible feedback as people are failing to mute themselves.” The event had over 250,000 listeners and reportedly had multiple technical glitches.
A campaign video released concurrently with the event fashioned DeSantis as the leader of the “Great American Comeback.”
During his first term as governor, DeSantis “derided” pandemic-driven shutdowns and vaccine mandates and has positioned himself as an enemy of what he calls “woke ideology” in the media, major companies, and schools, according to The Washington Post.
Last year, DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education Act, commonly referred to by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which restricts discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida schools. More recently, he signed an immigration crackdown and a bill approving a ban on abortion after six weeks in the state.
DeSantis, who is currently considered to be 1968 Wharton graduate and former President Donald Trump’s strongest Republican rival, may take on President Joe Biden in the 2024 election.
Wednesday’s event closely ties Musk — and his large follower base — with DeSantis, one of the Republican Party’s “rising stars.”
In 2022, Musk said that he would support DeSantis in a 2024 run. Musk “reluctantly” voted for Biden in 2020, and said that the Florida governor would easily beat Biden in the election. In response to Musk’s support, DeSantis joked, “I welcome support from African Americans. What can I say?”
During The Wall Street Journal 2023 CEO Summit Council on Tuesday, Musk said that he would not formally be endorsing DeSantis or any candidate yet, but called the campaign announcement happening on Twitter “groundbreaking.”