Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will announce his run for president during a meeting with Twitter CEO Elon Musk, three sources familiar with the plans told NBC News.
Musk and DeSantis will host an event Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET on Twitter Spaces, the platform’s platform for audio chats. It will be managed by Musk confidant and DeSantis supporter David Sachs, a tech entrepreneur.
That same evening, the campaign will release a launch video, and DeSantis will begin visiting several primary states after Memorial Day.
The relationship will be a significant boost, giving DeSantis exposure and credibility — including Musk’s 140 million Twitter followers. But DeSantis could be a burden if distracted by the president’s many controversial comments.
The release will closely align the billionaire tech mogul with one of the Republican Party’s rising stars. Musk has been an admirer of DeSantis, who also regularly addresses corporate media. Last year, Musk said he would support the governor if he ran for president.
The announcement will coincide with a retreat in Miami for high-profile fundraisers who have pledged to support DeSantis. Bundlers will gather at the Four Seasons Hotel from May 24-26, receive briefings from campaign staff, and interact in time to raise money for the campaign.
DeSantis’ team has been in talks with Musk for at least the past few weeks, according to a source familiar with the discussions. In those conversations, Musk indicated he didn’t think former President Donald Trump could win back the White House, the source said.
“He’s keen on the future and he’s keen to win again,” the person said.
During the Wall Street Journal’s 2023 CEO Summit on Tuesday, Musk confirmed he would attend DeSantis’ announcement, but said he would not formally endorse DeSantis at that time.
“I think it’s wonderful to have such a major announcement on social media,” he said, “that he’s not going to endorse any particular candidate for president just yet.”
However, one source said that within DeSantis’ group, Musk’s participation was seen as a clear sign of support for the governor.
Yet Musk is nothing if unpredictable, and on Friday, he tweeted One of DeSantis’ rivals for the GOP nomination, Sen. Tim Scott, RS.C. Appreciated the advertisement of
NBC News did not receive a response for comment from Musk, Sachs or the DeSantis campaign for this piece.
While Musk stopped short of a full endorsement of DeSantis, his alignment with the presidential announcement puts him and the company more squarely in the presidential race than any other tech company before it. Twitter, Facebook and other companies have launched poll centers and voter registration efforts, but have kept candidates at arm’s length.
Having someone of Musk’s stature participate in DeSantis’ presidential campaign undercuts Trump’s inevitability and power.
DeSantis’ relationship with Musk goes into early 2021, a GOP fundraiser in the crowd said when the two met with about 15 people, including tech investors, developers and health care industry officials, at a dinner in Austin, Texas.
The two openly support DeSantis and also have a relationship through Saks, a major Republican donor. Inner circle of musk In conclusions about Twitter.
Musk has built a fervent following after buying Twitter with a promise to roll back “free speech” after years of complaints from the franchise that the site tried to censor conservatives. One of his first actions was to reinstate the accounts of former far-right Twitter users who had been suspended for spreading misinformation. Former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, who remains one of the most popular figures in conservative media after being fired by Fox News, is launching a new show on Twitter.
That seems to be part of what makes a partnership with Musk so attractive to DeSantis. A source familiar with the plans told NBC News that DeSantis’ aides are looking at making Twitter an increasingly friendly space for conservative firebrands under Musk’s leadership, allowing them to speak directly to their conservative audience and bypass traditional media — something Trump once did. Superpower.
On January 6, 2021, Trump was banned from Twitter after his supporters rioted at the Capitol, and he has yet to return to the site after Musk reinstated him last fall.
“I expect the campaign to portray a positive vision for the country and the entire release will highlight future vs. past, success vs. failure, success vs. failure and action vs. talk. That’s the frame of the race,” said a source familiar with the plan.
“It was right for Ron DeSantis to announce on Twitter,” a Trump adviser told NBC News in a text message. “This way he doesn’t have to interact with people and the media can’t ask him any questions.”
The project is not without risks. Musk’s international star power surpasses that of DeSantis, who — though a heavyweight in Republican political circles — isn’t nearly as well-known. DeSantis declined to respond to all of Musk’s positions — down to individual tweets — His comments About George Soros, the progressive megadonor who earned the ire of Jewish leaders.
A source familiar with the plans said DeSantis wasn’t worried about the crew being staged, arguing that the governor was fine with the spotlight on himself.
But the added danger for DeSantis is that Musk has plenty of muscle to put behind DeSantis — and fans in the former president’s base — while Trump has made a political career out of portraying himself as an underdog fighting powerful forces within his party. On the Democratic side of the aisle, and in government and industry. Musk — and by extension, DeSantis — could be framed as the latest corporate titan to align against Trump’s movement.
In the coming weeks, Musk is set to step down as CEO of Twitter. He recently announced that he has hired Linda Yaccarino, former head of ad sales at NBCUniversal, to take over as Twitter’s next CEO. Musk said he will still oversee product design and new technology, while Yaccarino will run the business side.