Florida Governor Ron DeSantis plans to announce the start of his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday in a live Twitter audio chat with Elon Musk, the platform’s polarizing owner, according to people familiar with his plans.
Mr. DeSantis’ entry into the Republican primary race against former President Donald J. Trump was widely expected, but the decision to do so with Mr. Musk adds an element of surprise and gives Mr. DeSantis access to a large online audience. NBC News first reported on the plans.
The Twitter Spaces event, planned for 6 p.m. ET, injects a level of risk into the offering that is expected to be carefully scripted and ensures that Mr. DeSantis’ first impression as a presidential candidate will align with Mr. Musk, an eccentric businessman sometimes classified as The richest man in the world.
Mr. DeSantis is expected to later appear on Fox News in an interview with Trey Gowdy, a former congressman from South Carolina, according to the network.
Musk appeared to confirm the news on Tuesday with a retweet Fox News reporter who shared news of a planned Twitter space with Mr. DeSantis. The governor also gathered donors on Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami.
The conversation with Musk will be moderated by David Sachs, a pro-DeSantis Republican donor who is close to Musk.
Mr. Musk said he voted for President Biden in the 2020 election, but has since been critical of him and his administration, which has a frosty relationship with electric car maker Tesla. The billionaire said it was difficult for Mr. Biden to stay connected to voters at the age of 80.
When asked about Mr. Biden in an interview on CNBC last week, Mr. Musk said he just wants an “ordinary human” to lead the country.
“It’s not just a matter of, do they share your beliefs?” He said. “But are they good at getting things done?”
While Mr. Musk has described himself as a moderate and voted Democratic in the past, in recent years he has shifted his support toward the right. On Twitter, he dabbled with and shared right-wing conspiracy theories, including about the October attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, Musk described the Democratic Party as one of the “Division and hateHe said he would vote for Republican candidates. The Daily Beast later reported that Mr. Musk did not cast a ballot in the midterm elections.
Mr. Musk hasn’t been shy about expressing his support for Mr. DeSantis, and he has done so several times in the past year. Last July, Mr. Musk tweeted that the Florida governor “Win easily“If he is faced off against Mr. Biden in 2024. And in November he is He answered in the affirmative when asked by a Twitter user if he would support Mr. DeSantis in that year’s election.
Last summer, when Mr. DeSantis was asked about possible support for Mr. Musk, the governor of Florida cracked: “I welcome the support of African Americans. What can I say?” (Mr. Musk is white and from South Africa.)
Over the years, Mr. Musk has donated to both Republican and Democratic politicians, but in relatively small amounts. His largest contribution was $50,000 to the 2015 re-election campaign of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, brother of his friend, businessman Ari Emanuel.
In Florida, Mr. DeSantis has supported legislation intended, he says, to protect people from “Silicon Valley elites.”
This year, Florida lawmakers passed a bill allowing consumers to opt out of sharing their online data with big tech companies, among other privacy measures. This so-called Florida Digital Bill of Rights only applies to companies that generate more than $1 billion in “global annual gross revenue.”
Mr. DeSantis also criticized Silicon Valley companies for their efforts to remove misinformation from their platforms, which he likened to assaults on freedom of expression and the truth conducted in coordination with government officials.
“I’ve seen administrative state colluding with big technology to censor honest information, whether it’s people attacking Covid lockdowns, whether it’s questioning the effectiveness of masks or closing schools,” Mr. DeSantis said in an April speech to the Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank. . “There has been a concerted effort by Big Tech to do what the government is not allowed to do directly.”
He has also privately called for the breakup of Google, according to a report in ProPublica — putting him in line with some liberal critics of big tech.