After months of anticipation, on May 24 current Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis formally announced his campaign to compete in the 2024 U.S. presidential election. He is seen as Donald Trump’s main contender in the Republican primary and from his statements, will run on the conservative platform that has characterized his governorship.
The 44-year-old DeSantis, who is Florida’s 46th governor, announced the launch of his campaign on Twitter, a platform he seems to favor as an alternative to legacy media formats.
“I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback”, he said.
Shortly after, DeSantis and Twitter’s owner Elon Musk held an event on Twitter Spaces, but the large number of participants — over 600,000 — who had flocked to the live event simultaneously caused several disruptions and platform crashes, leading to a 25-minute delay before the event could begin.
In an hour-long conversation, the governor expressed criticism of what he described as elites using the mainstream media and “woke” culture to manipulate American society. Meanwhile, DeSantis praised Musk for his efforts to make Twitter a place for free speech across the entire political spectrum.
He then discussed and defended his policies implemented in Florida, including those relating to the ban on teaching in schools and universities about sexual orientation and gender equality. Another issue DeSantis elaborated on was the fight against illegal immigration and the longstanding question of border security, which he has vowed to strengthen as president.
The Florida state senate recently passed a law banning abortion after the first six weeks of conception.
Despite the initial troubles, during the first four hours of the fundraising, DeSantis’ campaign reportedly raised about $1 million in donations.
Although he is seen as the only viable candidate to challenge Donald Trump, recent polls indicated that the 45th President of the United States currently enjoys support from 53 percent of the total Republican electorate, while DeSantis lags far behind at just 13 percent.
The other Republican candidates at present are Nikki Hailey, Larry Elder, Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Trump, who announced his own reelection bid last November, has expressed his disapproval of a possible campaign by DeSantis, and criticized the Florida governor after the latter made his official announcement.
DeSantis became Florida governor in 2018, winning by just 0.4 percent against his Democrat rival Andrew Gillum. He was endorsed by Trump, who was president at the time.
In 2022, DeSantis was reelected with around 60 percent of the vote.
By Gabriele Esposito.