Ron DeSantis will announce he is running for president in a conversation with Elon Musk on Twitter, ending months of speculation about the Republican governor of Florida’s 2024 ambitions and placing the billionaire Twitter owner front and centre in the race for the White House.
DeSantis, 44, will launch his campaign on Wednesday evening with an event on Twitter Spaces, the social media platform’s format for audio conversations, according to a person familiar with the governor’s plans.
Musk also confirmed the event, saying: “We’ll be interviewing Ron DeSantis, and he has quite an announcement to make.”
“This will be the very first time that something like this is happening on social media, and with real time questions and answers,” Musk said in remarks at a Wall Street Journal conference on Tuesday afternoon. “Not scripted. So it’s going to be live.”
DeSantis is also expected to post a video to social media launching his campaign on Wednesday.
He has already called on deep-pocketed donors to join him in Miami, Florida, this week, where he is expected to lay out his 2024 strategy and try kick-start fundraising ahead of what is likely to be a gruelling campaign against former president Donald Trump and an increasingly crowded field of Republican hopefuls.
Trump maintains a sizeable lead, with the support of more than half of Republican primary voters, according to the latest average of opinion polls compiled by RealClearPolitics. DeSantis trails a distant second, at just shy of 20 per cent, followed by a smattering of candidates and would-be contenders — from Trump’s former vice-president Mike Pence to one-time South Carolina governor Nikki Haley — who are polling in the single digits.
The decision to host the announcement on Twitter comes as Musk, a self-declared free speech absolutist, has relaxed content moderation on the platform he bought in October for $44bn and appears to be increasingly courting certain conservative figures to feature prominently on the platform.
Earlier this month, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson announced that he planned to relaunch his show on Twitter after being fired from the US cable network.
Just a day before the DeSantis news, Musk praised Tim Scott, the Republican senator from South Carolina who launched his own presidential campaign on Monday. Musk posted a campaign video from the senator with the caption: “Great statement by Tim Scott!”
Nevertheless, Musk said on Tuesday that he was “not at this time trying to endorse any particular candidate” and that he planned to host and feature in interviews with subjects across the political spectrum.
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