Those who tuned into Twitter Spaces to hear Gov. Ron DeSantis speak on his planned presidential run and his blueprint for revitalizing America were treated to a prolonged series of silences and electronic elevator music as the platform repeatedly collapsed.
Twitter owner and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk, alongside fellow PayPal alumnus David Sacks, were beginning to interview DeSantis on the evening of May 24 when more than 20 minutes' worth of technical glitches consumed the broadcast.
"We just have a massive number of people online, so the servers are straining somewhat," Musk said before a mellow string of techno melodies came on.
"We're just trying to get it going...This is unfortunate. I've never seen this before," Musk said.
The disarray persisted for several minutes before DeSantis' media team sprang into action.
Press secretary Bryan Griffin claimed "there was so much enthusiasm for Governor DeSantis' vision for our Great American Comeback" that he "literally busted up the internet."
Some Twitter observers countered that there were fewer than a million views on the DeSantis-Musk interview thread before it commenced crashing. One user pointed to a virtual concert by Travis Scott in the Fortnite online-game universe, which reportedly drew 12 million viewers.
Alex Heath, editor at the Verge, said he's been in rooms on the app Clubhouse that had larger online participation than the DeSantis thread but managed not to crash.
At one point during the interview, Musk declared, "Looks like we're ready to go here," only to have the feed cut off again.
President Joe Biden's team appeared to poke fun at the technical troubles, posting a link to Biden's campaign donation portal and quipping, "This link works."
DeSantis' run for presidential office was revealed earlier in the afternoon after he filed the requisite paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. He was scheduled for a Fox interview later in the evening, at 8 p.m., on the heels of the Musk encounter.
"We must restore sanity to our nation. This means embracing fiscal and economic sanity. Stop pricing hard-working Americans out of a good standard of living through inflationary borrow and spending policies and please embrace American energy independence," DeSantis said while the Twitter Spaces chat could be heard.
The DeSantis team is looking to roll out his anti-woke policies nationwide after spreading them across the Sunshine State via a targeted legislative agenda.
Capitalizing on fear of LGBTQ indoctrination in schools and branding liberals as having a "mind virus" has been a winning political strategy for the governor, who won the midterm election by a nearly 20-percent margin over Charlie Crist and emerged as the first Republican governor to win typically blue-leaning Miami-Dade County since Jeb Bush in 2002.
During the Twitter Spaces chat, he insisted that he would replace "the woke mind virus with reality, facts, and enduring principles."
"Merit must trump identity politics," the governor added.
DeSantis also gained popularity by fashioning himself as a champion of pro-business, anti-lockdown policies during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
State Senator Shevrin Jones of Broward County, a stalwart critic of DeSantis, said the governor "has staked his political rise on eroding our right to privacy, attacking the LGBTQ community, emboldening white supremacist hate groups, making it harder for people to vote, gutting Social Security and Medicare – all in an attempt to further marginalize the already vulnerable."
"DeSantis heralds his extremist agenda as a 'blueprint' for the rest of the country and claims he wants to keep the government out of people’s lives, and yet, as governor, he’s mounted an all-out assault on Floridians’ most fundamental rights and freedoms," Jones said in a statement.
In recent polls, DeSantis appears to be the most viable challenger to Donald Trump as the recently indicted former president gears up for the 2024 race.
In an April poll of polls for the 2024 Republican primary, however, Trump still led DeSantis by a wide margin.