Elon Musk, Twitter’s owner and former CEO, had teased the announcement for days, but things quickly went awry as audio feeds cut out and Twitter staff could be heard cutting in to try and fix the situation. At one point, more than 500,000 people seemed to be tuned in to the Twitter Spaces event before it suddenly went offline. Musk was able to launch a new online venue, but only about half of the original viewers were able to join.
“Man, I think we melted the internet there,” David Sacks, the moderator of the discussion, said at one point.
Musk, who said the rollout was “unfortunate,” was finally able to introduce the governor for a “historic announcement,” saying he believed it was valuable to hear directly from candidates for a “real experience.”
“You can tell by some of the mistakes that it’s real,” Musk quipped.
The governor quickly moved into talking points maligning the state of the nation, attacking President Joe Biden and painting a bleak picture of the future.
“I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” DeSantis said 26 minutes after the event was set to begin. “We know our country is going in the wrong direction. We see it with our eyes, and we feel it in our bones.”
The governor’s competitors pounced after the technical difficulties.
“This link works,” Biden’s campaign wrote on Twitter, directing supporters to a Biden-Harris donation page.
A super PAC for former President Donald Trump, who is also running for the 2024 GOP nomination, quickly shared a screenshot mocking the DeSantis event.
DeSantis filed a declaration of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission earlier in the day and is set to be a major competitor to Trump. Trump still holds a vice grip over the party, leading by more than 30 percentage points among Republicans in national poll averages, but DeSantis and his allies are preparing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to secure his spot in the primaries.