'Failure to launch': Ron DeSantis Twitter announcement ends in disaster and mockery
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at Lynchburg, Virginia, on April 14, 2023. (Shutterstock.com)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off his presidential campaign formally on Wednesday, in an unconventional way: by hosting a Twitter Spaces event with tech billionaire Elon Musk. But from the start, the announcement was plagued with problems and technical glitches that forced it to start late — and while there were originally some 700,000 people in the space, viewership plunged as it became apparent it wasn't working properly.

The debacle resulted in widespread mockery from people of all political persuasions across Twitter.

"He can't even lead a Twitter Spaces!" laughed attorney Bradley P. Moss. Daniel Uhlfelder, a Florida-based attorney who became famous for dressing up as the Grim Reaper to protest DeSantis' COVID-19 policies, tweeted, "AI Ron is reading a script on Twitter Spaces." And David Frum, a Never Trump conservative who once served as a speechwriter to President George W. Bush, tweeted, "Failure to Launch: The Ron DeSantis Story."

Justin Horwitz linked it to the DeSantis leadership, as well: "Ron DeSantis can’t even successfully announce his candidacy. How do we expect him to successfully run the country?"

"Campaign launches not included in Twitter Blue 🙄" joked reporter Heidi Przybyla.

MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan went right to the source: "Congratulations to DeSantis's crack comms team, @BryanDGriffin , @ChristinaPushaw , and @JeremyRedfernFL , for organizing a totally effective and non-humiliating campaign launch for their boss with tech genius @elonmusk . Bravo! Remember, their pitch is 'Trump but competent.' Lol."

Steve Bannon, a longtime Trump ally, also laughed about the state of the event on his War Room podcast, calling it a "clown show." "You got Elon mumbling he’s on the spectrum ... you’ve got DeSantis mumbling, who knows where he is." And far-right activist Laura Loomer joked that the "Twitter space with @elonmusk was titled 'Preparing to Launch.' After Team DeSantis screwed the entire thing up and made people wait over 20 min, DeSantis's Space is already OVER before it ever began. More like FAILURE TO LAUNCH."

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), meanwhile, pointed out how few people were even paying attention to the whole spectacle, saying, "We had more people join when I played Among Us," a popular multiplayer video game.

And President Joe Biden himself jumped into the mockery, with his account tweeting a link to his re-election donation page and saying, "This link works."

DeSantis was competitive with Trump nationally and in many states in polls near the end of last year. However, recent polling suggests that DeSantis may be losing steam even as he launches officially, with Trump leading DeSantis by almost 30 points in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate.