“Astoundingly humiliating”: DeSantis brutally mocked after Twitter launch ends up a big “mistake”

"Unspinnable failure. Total and complete. Fully public,” tweeted MSNBC host Chris Hayes

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published May 25, 2023 9:05AM (EDT)

This illustration photo shows the live Twitter talk between Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis diplayed on a phone on May 24, 2023 in Bethesda, Maryland. (PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images)
This illustration photo shows the live Twitter talk between Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis diplayed on a phone on May 24, 2023 in Bethesda, Maryland. (PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' widely hyped presidential campaign launch on Twitter quickly turned into a punchline after the platform repeatedly crashed and the event went off the rails.

DeSantis was set to announce his campaign in an audio-only Twitter Space discussion with Twitter owner Elon Musk that was moderated by tech investor David Sacks. The Twitter Space was shut down after about 20 minutes of technical failures and relaunched shortly after.

Sacks tried to spin the platform's inability to broadcast to several hundred thousand people, claiming that "so many people here that I think we are kind of melting the servers."

DeSantis finally announced his presidential bid after the event was relaunched with a smaller audience of around 200,000 users, railing about the border and "woke" culture.

DeSantis, Musk and Sacks later discussed COVID, federal spending and modern media, listing a litany of right-wing complaints.

But by the time DeSantis was finally able to speak, the damage had been done and his nascent presidential bid quickly drew a flood of mockery.

Fox News' website quickly labeled the launch a "disaster."

DeSantis spoke with Fox News host Trey Gowdy, the former Republican congressman, following the botched Twitter event.

"I can't promise you that I won't crash, but Fox News will not crash during this interview," Gowdy told DeSantis.

DeSantis blamed the failure on the "huge audience."

"It was the biggest they had ever had," he said. "It did break the Twitter Space, and so we are really excited with the enthusiasm, but ultimately it's about the future of our country."

Former President Donald Trump, who holds a large lead over DeSantis in virtually all Republican primary polls, mocked his opponent's entry into the race on Truth Social.

"'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!)," he wrote.

"Wow! The DeSanctus TWITTER launch is a DISASTER! His whole campaign will be a disaster. WATCH!" he continued.

Trump also posted a bizarre fake video depicting DeSantis holding a Twitter Space with Adolf Hitler, The Devil, former Vice President Dick Cheney, liberal donor George Soros and other perceived MAGA enemies.

"DeSantis is making JEB! look high energy right now," tweeted Donald Trump Jr.

"Glitchy. Tech issues. Uncomfortable silences. A complete failure to launch. And that's just the candidate!" a Trump spokesperson texted reporters after the event.

Longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon called the event a "clown show" on his podcast.

"This is a historic screw-up," he said.

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DeSantis drew mockery from all sides after the Twitter failure as "#DeSaster" trended on the platform.

"This link works," tweeted President Joe Biden, sharing a fundraising page for his campaign.

MSNBC host mocked DeSantis' team for their pitch that the Republican is "Trump but competent."

"I'm sorry but this is an ASTOUNDINGLY HUMILIATING degree of incompetence. Unspinnable failure. Total and complete. Fully public," wrote fellow MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

"The guys who can't run a conference call should definitely run the country," quipped New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi.

"It was bold. It turned out to be a mistake," right-wing radio host Erick Erickson said in an email to supporters.

"'Failure to Launch': The Ron DeSantis story," joked former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum.

"As presidential announcements go, this is the three stoned guys who couldn't get a date in their dorm room on Saturday night version," tweeted Stuart Stevens, a Never Trump former Republican strategist.

Musk, whose team reportedly made no preparations ahead of the event, defended the disastrous Twitter Space by refuting media outlets who branded it a "fiasco," a "meltdown," and "horrendous."

"I call it 'massive attention,'" he wrote. "Top story on Earth today."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

MORE FROM Igor Derysh

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Aggregate Donald Trump Elections Elon Musk Politics Ron Desantis Twitter