The governor of Florida, considered Donald Trump’s only real rival in the Republican camp, has changed his plans to adopt the favorite’s communication codes.
By Marc Etcheverry
He will finally face Donald Trump after months of suspense and an unofficial campaign. At 6:00 p.m. in Washington this Wednesday, the governor of Florida will announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination in an unprecedented way, live on Twitter, during an audio conversation -a “Space”- with Elon Musk, moderated by investor David sacks.
This information was quickly confirmed by the head of the social network. “I’m going to interview Ron DeSantis and he has a big announcement to make,” he said in an exchange with the Wall Street Journal, noting that his questions would not be prewritten. Initially, this declaration of candidacy was going to be made from Dunedin, a suburb of Tampa (Florida), DeSantis’ hometown.
The billionaire no longer hides his ties to the American hard-right, although he was an enthusiastic supporter of Obama and a “reluctant” voter for Biden in 2020. He was able to win the appreciation of the most conservative circles in the United States by allowing the return of Donald Trump on Twitter, whose account had been suspended the day after the assault on the Capitol by his supporters. A rehabilitation in the name of “freedom of expression”, of which the billionaire claims to be a champion.
Then he multiplied his statements on favorite topics of the American hard right. Last December, she criticized the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, a former White House adviser and hated figure in anti-vaccine circles. However, last April, he “alert” again about the “woke virus”: “I think this comes from afar. The amount of indoctrination that occurs in schools and universities goes, I think, far beyond what is that parents notice,” he said on Real Time With Bill Maher, referring to the ill-defined ideology, focused on issues of equality and advocacy for minorities, which he seems to abhor.
A betrayal of his rival
But, does Elon Musk prefer Trump, already declared a candidate, or DeSantis? Frequently asked about the subject, the head of Twitter seems to have it more clearly with the passing of the months. Last November, during a debate with users of the platform, he gave his preference to the current governor of Florida, without making a firm commitment, saying that he mainly supported a “reasonable and centrist” candidate. Last year, however, he had already supported him before his overwhelming re-election as head of his State.
This declaration of candidacy is therefore, on the one hand, a nice return of the favor on the part of DeSantis, but also a stab in the back to his direct competitor, whose words have long polarized conservative discussions on the social network. Above all, because the new declared applicant is not very fond of new technologies. He doesn’t tweet, text or email, according to recent Semafor revelations.
The announcement also comes as Ron DeSantis’s donors gather at a Miami hotel to start fundraising. Although he is the former president’s main rival in the race for the White House on the Republican side, the Florida governor lags seriously behind in opinion polls. And he will need to make a splash to exist in the face of a Donald Trump who is very comfortable with controversy, even if he is embroiled in a series of court cases.