Twitter Fails During DeSantis Announcement


Well, it was bound to happen. Twitter Spaces is not a great place to be and using it to showcase the weaknesses of it on a major announcement was bound to fail and be funny at the same time.

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It was like one of SpaceX’s rapid unscheduled disassemblies

Free tickets to Disney World: maybe that’s what Ron the aspiring Don should give to the clever staffer who thought of having him announce his candidacy for POTUS on Twitter Spaces. 

It was only the official announcement, of course. But having him unfold the bulletin on Twitter Spaces, in an unscripted chat with Elon Musk, was supposed to transform a rote, ho-hum, so-what-I-already-knew-that non-event into a media happening. When I last checked, Tucker Carlson’s “We’re Back” Twitter clip had garnered more than 132 million views (take that, Fox). How did Ron do?

From where I and some friends sat, it was more…

From where I and some friends sat, it was more or less like the Thresher’s final voyage. Or maybe like one of SpaceX’s rapid unscheduled disassemblies. Some words from Elon and co-host David Sacks. Elsewhere on Spaces someone opined that this was the funeral for the “corporate press.” Then came the deep dive. Garbled sounds. Elon said that so many people were on that the servers were melting. Bang. Static. Nothing.

So I found it anyway.  Still, we got the message. In what I thought was a pretty generic video clip with an irritating soundtrack, Ron did announce that he was running.

It was supposed to be a flourish (or, if you are not feeling generous, “a stunt”) worthy of that other media savvy presidential candidate from Florida, the chap with the rallies who typically consumes 98 percent of the political oxygen on any given day. For once, Ron DeSantis was set to upstage the Donald — and by harnessing a medium that hitherto had seemed like an extension of Trump’s brand if not, indeed, his personality.  

That was the idea, anyway. At a moment when Fox News is committing seppuku in public and Elon Musk, with some help from Tucker Carlson, has been pushing the entrails into the dustbin of history, DeSantis was supposed to cannily step into the brightest spotlight in the land of the formerly free.  

Everyone I speak to tells me that he has a crackerjack team. The Twitter announcement-interview was supposed to corroborate that judgment. It would cover over his many recent missteps. His mixed messaging on Ukraine, for example, which  has drawn widespread criticism. Ditto his increasingly petulant spat with Disney. Florida may be where “woke goes to die” — a mot DeSantis is proud of and repeats early and often — but some business leaders would prefer he forget about Mickey Mouse prancing about in a dress and worry more about jobs and the bottom line.  

Then there was DeSantis’s decision to sign the bill prohibiting abortion after six hours — or was it six weeks? That may be balm to the theologians and a sop to purity: I am not sure how well it plays among the soccer moms.   

There are other concerns: his woodenness on the stump has led some to wonder how effective he will be connecting with the masses he will need in Nevada, in Arizona, in Georgia, in North Carolina, and elsewhere in the great quest for the grail of 271 electoral votes. More generally, some wonder about his style of governance. It is easy to applaud his Blitzkrieg against New College — speaking of bastions of woke insanity — but was that evidence of a certain highhandedness when it came to deploying the coercive power of the state? Some people, even some supporters, have wondered. 

In an interview from London yesterday, Elon Musk said that he would prefer someone “fairly normal” in the Oval Office, someone who espoused “moderate views.” Can we agree that both desiderata exclude the aged occupant of that august post? I think we can.  But what about the other chap, the elephant offstage who will be pushing his way to the center any moment. “Fairly normal”? “Moderate”? Your mileage may vary.  

Musk has made no secret of his admiration for DeSantis. But he has also been candid about his admiration for other candidates, including, most recently, South Carolina senator Tim Scott, who just announced his candidacy in a more traditional way. I wonder wonder he thinks now. 

Eventually, a new Twitter Spaces came online. Too late! Three quarters of the listeners had left. Those who stayed were treated to an off-the-rack political speech that could have been written by ChatGPT. It reminded me a little of Roderick Spode’s stump speech: the future lies ahead! Tomorrow is another day! Nothing stands between us and victory except defeat! All delivered in a nasal deadpan as if by a preacher intoning a prayer over a dead muskrat’s grave.   

I had hoped this would be bright new page for Ron DeSantis. Partly because of technical problems. partly because of his speech writers, and partly because of that woodenness I mention earlier, it was a complete disaster.

Source: A disastrous DeSantis 2024 ‘launch’ on Twitter Spaces – The Spectator World

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