With the long-awaited official announcement of his candidacy, Navy vet and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he won’t let what will presumably be an avalanche of nasty nicknames from his opponents “faze” him because the insults “pale in comparison” with the sacrifices others have made so he can “live in a free country.”
Appearing with Trey Gowdy on Fox News following his historic — albeit technically challenged — Twitter launch, the host suggested there is “a very, very slight chance” that he might “pick up a nickname,” say, from “one fellow contender.”
While unnamed, Gowdy was clearly referring to former President Donald Trump who, for months, has been workshopping digs at DeSantis, ranging from “Ron DeSanctimonious” to “Meatball Ron.” After the difficulties with an overloaded Twitter Spaces on Wednesday, “Ron DeSASTER” was put forth by Trump supporters and quickly began trending.
RON DeSASTER!!! pic.twitter.com/tHop2MhOow
— il Donaldo Trumpo (@PapiTrumpo) May 25, 2023
“How do you run a robust campaign in a vast and varied field and still bring everyone back?” Gowdy asked the governor.
“I have been called everything but a child of God as it is,” DeSantis replied. “So that does not faze me. You can call me whatever you want.”
“Just make sure you call me a winner,” he added, noting that “winning” is what he’s been doing in the Sunshine State.
Uniting Republicans is something DeSantis has proven he can do.
“I think I had 98% of Republicans in my re-election,” he said. “We also really expanded, and I think that’s the only way that you can do it.”
It was a subtle swipe at the former president, whose picks in the midterm elections failed to produce the Red Wave many were hoping for. But it wasn’t the only smooth jab DeSantis took. Without directly pointing his finger, he appeared to bring up Trump’s service record — or lack thereof.
“There will be slings and arrows, but I am a big boy, I can take it,” DeSantis said. “There’s a lot of people that have given a lot more than that so that this country can be free.”
“You can see their tombstones in places like Arlington National Cemetery,” he continued. “So if the sacrifice I have to make is people are going to call me names, that pales into comparison with what so many people have done for me throughout history so that I could live in a free country.”
While DeSantis served as a Navy prosecutor in Guantanamo and advised a U.S. Navy SEAL commander in Iraq, according to the Daily Mail, Trump was famously considered by many to be a “draft dodger,” securing “four deferrals of his Vietnam War draft in 1969, before eventually getting a medical exemption for his bone spurs.”
Meanwhile, as DeSantis took the high road with Gowdy, Trump took to Truth Social and compared “buttons” in a bizarre post that, for some reason, referenced North Korea’s tyrannical leader.
“‘Rob,’ My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working (TRUTH!), yours does not! (per my conversation with Kim Jung Un, of North Korea, soon to become my friend!),” Trump wrote, mocking the delays DeSantis and Twitter owner Elon Musk faced in kicking off the announcement.
President Trump trolls DeSantis over his failed Twitter Space: “My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working (TRUTH!), yours does not!” pic.twitter.com/nJA2pjvEyP
— Julia (@Jules31415) May 24, 2023
To be fair, it was hardly the kickoff any politician would wish for.
As more than a half-a-million Twitter users joined Twitter Spaces for a new era in public “town halls,” the overloaded servers “melted,” leaving 26 minutes of awkward silence while Musk and tech entrepreneur David Sacks scrambled to fix the problems.
In the end, the Daily Mail reports, “only about 250,000 users remained to listen.”
Initially, the event was to be hosted from Musk’s account, which boasts 140 million followers. It finally had to be “relaunched with Sacks’ account, which has under 1million followers,” according to the outlet.
“We’ve got so many people here that we are kind of melting the servers,” Sacks explained as they worked on the glitch.
@GovRonDeSantis announced he’s running for president on Twitter. This was by far the biggest room ever held on social media. Twitter performed great after some initial scaling challenges. Thanks Twitter Team for adapting so quickly to make history!https://t.co/mTJ2INQ1Y7
— David Sacks (@DavidSacks) May 24, 2023
“I think it crashed because when you multiply a half-million people in a room by an account with over 100 million followers, which is Elon’s account, I think that creates just a scalability level that was unprecedented,” he said.
When the Spaces situation was at last fixed, Sacks told DeSantis, “I think you broke the internet.”
But some suggested that the problem stemmed from Musk’s early cost-cutting measures.
Upon taking control of the social media giant, Musk showed a swath of technical and other staffers the door and reduced Twitter’s server capacity to stem what he characterized as the company’s “bleeding.”
Still, despite the shakey Spaces snafus, Musk celebrated the Twitter event.
“New York Times calls the DeSantis announcement a ‘fiasco.’ NBC News calls it a ‘melt down.’ The Washington Post calls it ‘awkward.’ Politico calls it ‘horrendous,'” tweeted MSNBC Executive Producer Kyle Griffin.
“I call it ‘massive attention,'” Musk shot back. “Top story on Earth today.”
I call it “massive attention”
Top story on Earth today
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 25, 2023
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