TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis made history on Wednesday by choosing to officially announce his candidacy for U.S. President in 2024 via Twitter Spaces. Twitter CEO Elon Musk and tech entrepreneur David Sacks moderated the conversation with the Florida governor.
The novel method started off clunky, with a 15-minute delay that was purportedly caused by a turnout of just over 600,000 users.
While legacy media outlets said the early technical difficulties resulted in a “disaster,” the DeSantis campaign argued the large turnout points to the governor’s national popularity.
Following the interview, Sacks declared that over 6.5 million listeners tuned in for the online dialogue. Musk argued that the technical failures and subsequent media criticism helped amplify the conversation.
I call it “massive attention”— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 25, 2023
Top story on Earth today
The Florida Standard compiled the governor’s best quotes from the nearly hour-long interview. The comments have been edited for length and clarity.
ON JOE BIDEN
“Our president lacks vigor, flounders in the face of our nation’s challenges, and he takes his cues from the woke mob. I don’t think it has to be this way. American decline is not inevitable, it is a choice. And we should choose a new direction, a path that will lead to American revitalization.”
ON THE BORDER SITUATION
“As an American citizen, if I wasn’t running, this would be an issue that bothers me. I’ve put a lot of my capital as Florida governor involved in combating illegal immigration. We’ll shut down the border, construct the border wall, and hold the drug cartels accountable. I share that frustration [that the border wall was never finished]. I think even my worst critics in Florida will acknowledge, when I tell people I’m going to do something, I don’t make promises or say I’m going to do something lightly. I’ve thought it through, and I know that I am going to follow through on what I tell people I’m going to do. So this is one, there will be follow through.”
ON PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCIES
“I don’t have confidence that those agencies are up to the task. I think you need major, major overhaul of the whole enchilada with respect to public health in this country. Their impulses were authoritarian, they were not following the data, and I think the U.S. government needs to acknowledge the failures, and I think all of those agencies need to be cleaned out. Had Florida not just kind of stood in the way [during COVID], I think this country would’ve had rolling lockdowns for probably a two-year period.”
ON LEGACY MEDIA AND ELITES
“The legacy media, these corporate journalists, they’re in their little bubble and to draw allusions to stuff like [comparing DeSantis to KKK leader David Duke]. I mean, how crazy do you have to be? But in their little bubble, it sounds like they’re making some type of profound point. I think the elites in our society have tried to cluster themselves to where their assumptions are never challenged.”
ON DISNEY AND CRITICISM FROM THE GOP
“I think some of these Republicans that are taking Disney’s side, they’re basically showing themselves to be corporatist because these are all corporate goodies. This is not the way you would run a competitive economy. We ended their self-governing status so Disney has to live under the same laws as everybody. They’ve got to pay the same taxes as everybody, and obviously they’ll be responsible for those debts. People are making money in Florida hand over fist because we have a great business climate. That’s not good enough for [Disney]. They’re suing to try to get special privileges.”
ON CRYPTO AND CBDCs
“You have every right to do Bitcoin. The only reason these people in Washington don’t like it is because they don’t control it. They’re central planners and they want to have control over society. Bitcoin represents a threat to them, so they’re trying to regulate it out of existence. I would oppose [a ban on cryptocurrency]. I think these are people that are sophisticated; they can make decisions. There’s risks involved with it, but let them do that. I just do not have an itch to have to control everything that people may be doing in this space. If I’m President, we are not doing a Central Bank Digital Currency. I think that that would be a huge, huge imposition on people’s financial freedoms and financial privacy. I see it as a massive transfer of power from individual consumers to a central authority, and I don’t think that that’s good for a free society.”
ON “THE CULTURE OF LOSING” IN THE GOP
“We must end the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party in recent years. The tired dogmas of the pastor are inadequate for a vibrant future. We must look forward, not backwards. We need the courage to lead, and we must have the strength to win.”