Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) entered the Republican primary to disastrous headlines from the establishment and alternative media that focused more on Twitter’s “melting servers,” “major tech issues,” and “glitches” than targeted campaign messaging.
Although Twitter eventually functioned properly, allowing DeSantis to speak about a number of carefully curated policies, the headlines throughout the media ignored his material and focused on the campaign’s “failure to launch.” Twitter, not DeSantis, appeared to dominate the media’s gist.
The DeSantis campaign tried to spin the “melting servers” and “meltdown” as breaking the internet, but the nine following headlines from major media organizations harmonized, a rare moment for the entirety of the American press:
Politico: Trump Had an Escalator. DeSantis Had a Meltdown.
On June 16, 2015, the reality TV star Donald Trump stepped on to a golden escalator, rode it slowly down to the lobby of his building, and — in front of just a few dozen reporters and photographers — commenced a theatrically produced presidential announcement perfectly tailored for TV.
Eight years later, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — Trump’s closest rival for the GOP nomination — logged onto an audio-only social media platform with almost 700,000 listeners listening in (or at least trying to). Twitter’s servers melted down, and the event started 24 minutes late. “It keeps crashing,” said Twitter owner, DeSantis host and multi-billionaire Elon Musk at one point. Once it got going, a collection of guests flattered the Florida governor’s ego before asking DeSantis questions and about 300,000 people stuck around.
Daily Mail: ‘Biggest fail in campaign launches in history’: DeSantis mocked for shambolic Twitter launch
The event was initially delayed by several minutes, and when it began the audio frequently cut out.
Moderator David Sacks said so many people were trying to listen that it was ‘melting the internet’.
By 6:30pm, the audio was down and DeSantis was yet to utter a word. They began again around 10 minutes later, with Sacks congratulating DeSantis for ‘breaking the internet’ and Musk saying it was refreshing not to have ‘canned speeches and teleprompters – it’s real.’
Politico Playbook: Why DeSantis’ disastrous launch matters
FAILURE TO LAUNCH — It started not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Choosing to use Twitter Spaces to announce his candidacy was supposed to signal a dynamic, non-traditional campaign while differentiating DeSantis from his competitors.
It didn’t work out that way.
National Review: Ron DeSantis Twitter Launch Was a Disaster
The launch of a campaign is one of the few moments in which a candidate has full control of the medium and message, and broad attention. By agreeing to do the Twitter Spaces launch, DeSantis surrendered control and suffered for it. First, there were the embarrassing technical issues, which caused the audio to cut off several times before things finally kicked off more than 20 minutes after they were supposed to. When the first talking space was shut down, over 600,000 people were listening. But the audience peaked just above 300,000 when it came back.
New York Times: Awkward Silence: Ron DeSantis’s Bold Twitter Gambit That Flopped
It was the announcement not heard ’round the world.
Ron DeSantis plotted to open his presidential campaign early Wednesday evening with a pioneering social media gambit, introducing himself during an audio-only Twitter forum with Elon Musk. His 2024 effort began instead with a moment of silence. Then several more.
A voice cut in, then two — Mr. Musk’s? — only to disappear again.
CNN: Glitches, echoes and ‘melting the servers’ crash DeSantis’ campaign launch on Twitter
Twitter’s livestream event with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis crashed and was delayed on Wednesday as hundreds of thousands of users logged on to hear DeSantis announce his bid for the White House.
Sound from the livestream event — which was held on Twitter Spaces and hosted by owner Elon Musk and tech entrepreneur David Sacks — cut in and out in the first minutes after starting.
“We’ve got so many people here that we are kind of melting the servers,” Sacks said at one point.
Newsweek: Ron DeSantis ‘Disastrous’ 2024 Launch Marred by Twitter Glitches
The tragic start to DeSantis’ major announcement, which so far has fallen short of giving Republicans what they desired, infuriated people across America, who quickly took to Twitter to air their complaints, calling the launch “disastrous”.
At approximately 6:15 p.m., the online video conference started playing instrumental music before crashing again. A few moments later, the Twitter Spaces event was no longer live, although interested listeners were able to play the glitchy recording.
Washington Post: Twitter repeatedly crashes as DeSantis tries to make presidential announcement
It was supposed to be a monumental occasion for Twitter.
For the first time, a presidential candidate would use the site’s premier audio feature to announce a run for the White House. And he’d do so in an exclusive interview with new CEO Elon Musk.
But just minutes into the Twitter Spaces with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the site was breaking because of technical glitches, as more than 600,000 people tuned in. Users were dropping off — including DeSantis himself. A flustered Musk scrambled to get the conversation on track, only to be thwarted by his own website.
Just the News: DeSantis announcement met with major tech issues, Trump reacts with meme
DeSantis posted a campaign ad to his Twitter before hopping on a Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk to announce his White House bid live, but for more than twenty minutes, the announcement was delayed because the Space kept crashing.
Twitter owner Elon Musk appeared to pin the crash on the high volume of users who tuned in to hear DeSantis speak, overwhelming the social media’s servers and setting off a string of glitches that led to President Trump making a meme of the technical difficulties.
Taking to Truth Social, the former President posted a video comparing a smooth livestream of his November campaign kickoff to DeSantis’s initially disastrous one by comparison.
The Florida governor’s presidential campaign is off to a rough start in the media.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.