Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially joined the 2024 Republican race for president on Wednesday. DeSantis stated he is “running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback.” He also filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission earlier in the day.
DeSantis' long-rumored announcement was no surprise, but the unconventional way that chose to make it was, indeed, surprising. The Florida governor held a live-streamed audio conversation on the platform Twitter Spaces with its CEO Elon Musk. It was moderated by Republican donor and tech executive David Sacks.
The much-anticipated live event didn’t go smoothly at all. It experienced multiple technical glitches and many listeners were not able to tune in. The app even crashed several times, prompting Musk and Sacks to declare that the servers were first “strained” and “melting.”
Nevertheless, Twitter Spaces showed hundreds of thousands of people did manage to connect, with the DeSantis campaign claiming that the governor “broke the internet.”
While Musk made it clear prior to the event that his appearance with DeSantis is not an official endorsement of his candidacy, in recent media interviews, the social media giant indicated he doesn’t believe Trump can win the GOP the general elections.
"My preference, and I think the preference of most Americans, is really to have someone fairly normal in office," Musk said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit. DeSantis has often been referred to as 'Trump without the crazy.'
In a video released by the DeSantis campaign following the announcement, the governor can be heard declaring: “Our border is a disaster. Crime infests our cities. The federal government makes it harder for families to make ends meet. And the president flounders. But decline is a choice. Success is attainable. And freedom is worth fighting for.”
“Righting the ship requires restoring sanity to our society, normalcy to our communities, and integrity to our institutions. Truth must be our foundation – and common sense can no longer be an uncommon virtue. In Florida, we proved that it can be done,” he continued. “We chose facts over fear, education over indoctrination, law and order over rioting and disorder. We held the line when freedom hung in the balance. We showed that we can – and must – revitalize America. We need the courage to lead and the strength to win.”
The campaign also published the Florida governor’s upcoming trips to presidential primary states after Memorial Day.
A newly released CNN survey showed Donald Trump as the clear leader in the Republican field, supported by 53% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters. DeSantis is second with 26%. They are followed by former Vice President Mike Pence and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley with 6% each. Other candidates such as Vivek Ramaswamy, Larry Elder and Senator Tim Scott only gained 2% or less.
DeSantis is currently serving his second term in Florida, after he was re-elected in November 2022 by nearly a 20-point margin. He aims to build on his success in the Sunshine state and export his local achievements nationally as president.
Among his flagship policies that captured the attention of both supporters and critics are his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic; push against Critical Race Theory and Gender Ideology in schools and culture; and his fight against illegal immigration. Most notable was his recent stunt to fly migrants to Martha's Vineyard.
DeSantis often takes pride in a declaration he signed in 2021 to protect religious freedom and support Florida’s Jewish community. He also enacted robust Holocaust education requirements and standards in Florida schools and has taken a clear approach against organizations that show support to the BDS movement.
DeSantis recently returned from a visit to Israel. Speaking at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Orlando last week, he said he had delivered on his promise to make Florida “the most pro-Israel state in the U.S.”
During his visit to the Holy Land, the Florida governor was asked by ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor in Chief Joel Rosenberg if he views the 75th anniversary of Israel as prophetic and biblical or as a result of Zionism. DeSantis replied, “both.”
The 44-year-old governor studied history at Yale University and obtained a law degree with honors at Harvard Law School. DeSantis served in the U.S. Navy as a JAG officer and received the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service and the Iraq Campaign Medal. After his active-duty military service, he worked as a federal prosecutor and was first elected to Congress in 2012. He is married to Casey and together they have three young children.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.