After a 30-minute delay caused by technological glitches with Twitter’s “Spaces” audio chat system, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s much-hyped announcement of his 2024 presidential campaign began with one billionaire praising another billionaire.
The first billionaire, venture capitalist and DeSantis booster, David Sacks, opened the conversation with praise for Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur who bought Twitter last year with the aim of enabling free conversations of all kinds of Right-wing characters who were banned for violating the site’s rules under their previous management.
Sacks then turned to introduce DeSantis, who he said first came to his attention when the Florida governor began attacking public health measures recommended by medical professionals at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And with that, DeSantis began delivering his speech to voters — or at least voters who are on Twitter and cared enough to listen.
Here are some important topics.
Expect attacks on the press to be a central focus of the DeSantis campaign
Like most Republicans, DeSantis has made hard-hitting journalists part of his daily speech.
As governor, his press team was known to attack reporters who wrote stories that displeased the governor, with many of these journalists receiving death threats as a result.
DeSantis, who rarely answers questions from the press, has made it clear that destroying journalistic institutions and undermining the idea that the media work in good faith to get the news out will be the centerpiece of his campaign.
The governor has framed his opposition to mainstream journalism as support for “truth-telling,” citing the “backlash” he received for opening up his state during the “media” pandemic.
“There was a concerted effort to try to quell dissent. There’s an official narrative about lockdowns about school closures about forced masking and all these different things that we’ve had to navigate through during Covid, and it’s been an orthodoxy being enforced by major technology platforms in conjunction with the federal government,” he said.
He later accused the “inherited media” of “colluding” with civil rights groups like the NAACP to “fabricate a narrative” about the policies he instituted that led the group to recently say Florida is unsafe for black people. Americans visit.
“I would just say that, as an American citizen, if you are uncritically accepting narratives carried by legacy media and leftist groups, you are failing in your job of being a conscientious citizen,” he said.
He surrounded himself with sycophants
When it came time to answer questions from the audience that gathered virtually to hear him announce his candidacy, DeSantis’ choice of interlocutors was revealing.
Instead of answering questions from ordinary people who bothered to listen to a man who wants to be the next president of the United States, the people chosen to question him were well-known right-wing activists and online personalities, some of whom he worked with. or currently works with him in Florida.
The first to ask a question was Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford Medical School professor who gained fame in right-wing circles during the Covid-19 pandemic for advocating a “herd immunity” strategy that would have had millions of Americans deliberately contracting the virus long before any vaccines were available for it. have been approved.
Then Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie, a libertarian-leaning Republican who, like other speakers, devoted part of his remarks to praising Musk for buying Twitter before asking how DeSantis would curb the power of federal agencies that conservatives believe are biased against them.
He also fielded questions from Steve Deace, an Iowa radio host who questioned the validity of the 2020 election, Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who helped DeSantis take over New College of Florida with the aim of turning it into a right education. bastion, and Dana Loesch, a right-wing radio commentator who formerly worked for the National Rifle Association’s defunct NRA streaming TV service.
His rhetoric largely reflected the concerns of the online right.
From his attacks on “legacy media” to promises to ban central bank digital currency – something that doesn’t exist in the United States – and ban banks from abandoning customers because of their political views, the issues discussed by DeSantis have largely followed ones that animate the right-wing commentators who have dominated Twitter discourse under Musk.
He attacked the Federal Reserve and the Department of Justice for allegedly forcing conservatives to “expose” and claimed that banks are “conspiring” to prevent Americans from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
“I just signed anti ESG legislation that said things like no ESG criteria and our pension fund, we have a $180 billion state pension fund, no social credit scores for consumers when they go to the bank in other words, if you apply for a loan , a loan should be judged based on your credit worthiness, not whether you are kneeling down to appropriate left causes,” he said.
Musk also spoke about the threat to America of a “waking mind virus” – a phrase Musk and other online conservatives use to describe progressive beliefs because they believe it is a form of social contagion.
He wants to dismantle much of what makes up the modern American system of government.
Mr. DeSantis also spent a portion of his comments describing how he wants to hurt federal agencies, including the FBI, if they can’t be brought in line with conservative ways of thinking.
Asked how he would rein in recalcitrant agencies, he replied: “I understand different points of influence you would have under Article Two of the Constitution. I studied a lot about becoming governor on the Florida constitution, saying the same thing for the federal constitution and you have to know how to use your influence to advance what you are trying to accomplish.”
He also threatened to have the Department of Education set new criteria for accrediting colleges and universities based on a refusal to engage in practices designed to promote diversity or teach so-called “agreed” curricula and reverse much of what President Joe Biden has done. . made since taking office, including its immigration policies.
In addition, DeSantis voiced support for the REINS Act, a Republican-backed bill that would allow Congress to overrule any decision by a regulatory agency that most members did not like, and suggested that the Supreme Court should overturn a decades-old decision that says that courts should leave to agency experts when they interpret ambiguous legislation.
“I also think we’ll have a good chance of seeing some of Chevron’s deference actually reduced or maybe even eliminated based on future U.S. Supreme Court case law, and I think that’s another reason why the bureaucracy has become so powerful because the courts basically they were told they can do whatever they want, and the courts should just hold off,” he said. “I don’t think that’s really correct. I think the courts have to make a judgment call about what the law actually says, you can’t just defer to quote quotation marks bureaucracy experts.”