Florida Governor DeSantis to enter 2024 Presidential race in Twitter event with Musk

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose impassioned battles over pandemic lockdowns and divisive cultural issues have endeared him to conservatives, will announce on Wednesday he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, placing him on a collision course with former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis will make the announcement on Twitter during a discussion with Twitter CEO Elon Musk, DeSantis’ political team confirmed. At the same time, he will file a document with the Federal Election Commission declaring his candidacy.

NBC first reported the planned announcement.

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Musk confirmed his appearance on a webcast during a conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal, saying he was not endorsing DeSantis.

“I’m not at this time planning to endorse any particular candidate, but I am interested in Twitter being somewhat of a town square,” Musk said.

DeSantis was re-elected handily to a second term in November. His rising profile among Republicans and fundraising prowess likely make him the biggest threat to Trump’s hopes of becoming the Republican nominee for the White House again.

The two men were close allies during Trump’s four years in the White House – Trump endorsed him during his first campaign for governor - but DeSantis has since forged his own political identity. At 44 he may represent the future of the party more than does the 76-year-old Trump.

“Announcing on Twitter is perfect for Ron DeSantis. This way he doesn’t have to interact with people and the media can’t ask him any questions,” said a Trump adviser who asked not to be identified.

DeSantis will convene a meeting in Miami of his top donors, who will immediately launch his presidential fundraising efforts.

During the coronavirus pandemic, DeSantis became the national face of resistance to mask and vaccine mandates and has been a virulent critic of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who headed the government’s COVID-19 response in both the Trump and Biden administrations.

In stump speeches, he has argued his policies made possible Florida’s economic recovery from the pandemic, turning the state into a magnet for hundreds of thousands of new residents. Florida has consistently outpaced the country in job growth over the last two years.

“His pandemic response effectively made him the governor of Red State America,” said Justin Sayfie, a Florida lobbyist and a former aide to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

In the months leading up to his presidential bid, DeSantis has toured the country, visiting states like Iowa and New Hampshire that will hold early presidential nominating contests next year and talking up his accomplishments in Florida.

But his decision to wait until now to join the fray has allowed Trump to batter DeSantis with a fusillade of attacks, costing him standing in national polls.

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