Twenty minutes into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ highly publicized 2024 presidential campaign launch, which was scheduled Wednesday with an assist from Elon Musk via Twitter Circles, the platform went from stuttering along to going completely offline before the politician even had a chance to speak.
At its height, the Twitter Circles room appeared to have 650,000 listeners and counting, an overload that a flustered Musk, who was hosting the event to his 140.8 million followers, called “massive” while trying to explain away the delay 15 minutes in.
“It just keeps crashing, huh?” moderator David Sacks could be heard saying to Musk midway through, shortly before the conversation went dark.
But just before 3:30 p.m. PT, the room was back up and running with DeSantis taking the mic to announce his bid.
Later in the revitalized stream, Musk acknowledged the technical delays at the top of the hour, noting that having him as host was what stalled DeSantis’ announcement due to the high volume of listeners. Still, he argued that the ability for politicians to reach their audience without a media middle man was “profound” and that he aligned with DeSantis in his fight to protect the freedom of speech.
“The amazing thing about Twitter and things like Spaces is that — although I happen to be hosting it, well, I had to switch over to David hosting it because my account was breaking the system,” he said about 13 minutes in.
“There was too much interest!” Sacks said.
“But there’s really never been a mechanism before where someone could address the nation or anyone who wanted to listen to them could, from anywhere in the world,” Musk said. “So I think this is a really profound change.”
In his initial statement, DeSantis talked up the successes of his governorship while also sniping — in a not-so-subtle nod to former president Donald Trump’s celebrity — that leadership, for him, is not about “building a brand.”
“We also understand that governing is not entertainment, it’s not about building a brand or virtue signaling. It is about delivering results, and our results in Florida have been second to none,” he said. “We can and we must deliver big results for America. I pledge to be an energetic executive that will take on the important issues.”
DeSantis emphasized in the close to his introduction, however, that change will not come if he doesn’t win.
“There is no substitute for victory. We must end the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party in recent years. The tired dogmas of the past are inadequate for a vibrant future. We must look forward, not backwards,” the governor said. “We need the courage to lead, and we must have the strength to win. And to voters who are participating in this primary process, my pledge to you is this: If you nominate me, you can set your clock to January 20, 2025, at high noon, because on the west side of the U.S. Capitol, I will be taking the oath of office as the 47th president of the United States. No excuses, I will get the job done.”
Listen to the full conversation via Twitter Circles here.