The Alliance Between Desantis And Elon Musk Began To Take Shape A Year Ago

The Alliance Between DeSantis And Elon Musk Began To Take Shape a Year Ago

Everything you need to know about Ron Desantis 4:31

(WABNEWS) — When Tesla CEO Elon Musk first considered buying Twitter in early 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was one of many Republicans who publicly applauded the tech billionaire’s intention to a social media platform considered hostile by conservatives.

But DeSantis pushed harder than most Republican officials. Citing the Florida pension fund’s investments in the company, the governor vowed to pit the nation’s third-largest state against Twitter’s board of directors if they did not approve the sale to Musk.


“We’re going to look at how the state of Florida can hold Twitter’s board of directors accountable for breaching their fiduciary duty,” he said in April 2022. “So keep an eye on that.”

Now, a year after DeSantis helped Musk, the Silicon Valley mogul is returning the favor. DeSantis is about to launch his presidential ambitions on Twitter on Wednesday, WABNEWS and other outlets reported, with Musk personally joining the Florida governor for the announcement on the site he now owns following the $44 billion acquisition.

An alliance between DeSantis and Musk has been brewing for some time. Last June, Musk tweeted that he was leaning toward endorsing DeSantis in 2024, though he has said he won’t be making an endorsement this Wednesday. Musk and DeSantis share similar rejections of covid-19 mitigation strategies and people sharing their pronouns to announce their gender. DeSantis has also lately described progressive causes as a “woke virus,” a term Musk has often used.

By rolling out the virtual red carpet for the governor of Florida, Musk is providing a stage for DeSantis to speak directly to the right-wing influencers who have become some of the most engaged Twitter users under his new ownership. DeSantis, for his part, has already shown that he’s hooked on the debates that often stir Twitter 280 characters at a time, from gas stoves and Bud Light, to Penn University swimmer Lia Thomas and the use of the word. with “n” for Joe Rogan, and his political team often elevates the ranks of conservative accounts focused on “beating the libs” (making the liberals mad).

Already a key player in the cultural clashes under Musk, his Twitter campaign launch is a welcome addition to what is seen as a key audience for galvanizing support for Republican candidates.

It also conveniently elevates it on a platform that once catapulted Donald Trump to GOP stardom before he was ousted from the site in the wake of the events of January 6, 2021, and forced to start a rival platform. A super Trump-supporting political action committee blasted the election as “one of the most misplaced campaign pitches in modern history.” Meanwhile, at the other end of the Republican Party, former US representative Adam Kinzinger questioned the choice of moderator, venture capitalist David Sacks. Sacks, a past donor to DeSantis’s political operation, is a prominent critic of the war in Ukraine, an issue on which DeSantis has faced criticism from some Republicans for his wavering messages about the invasion of Russia.

“I really don’t get it,” Kinzinger told WABNEWS Tuesday night. But he added: “Certainly, it will probably get a little more attention this way.”

The laments from all parties are illustrative of the shared risk between Musk and DeSantis as they sit on the precipice of momentous challenges. DeSantis’ run for the White House faces an uphill climb against Trump, a candidate in a unique situation as a former president from whom no Republican has been able to successfully wrest control of the Republican Party.

Seven months after Musk used his fortune to acquire Twitter and vowed to make the social network “better than ever,” Twitter’s future has never been more uncertain. Advertisers and users have fled the platform under the erratic leadership of Musk, who has promoted conspiracy theories and engaged with far-right figures. DeSantis’ endorsement appears to contradict his own criticism of the platform, which he said had become too pro-Democratic under its previous owner.

“There is currently a great danger that social media will fragment into far-right and far-left echo chambers that will generate more hate and divide our society,” he wrote in an appeal to companies that advertise on Twitter. “In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of the traditional media has fed and catered to these polarized extremes, believing that this is what makes money, but in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost.”

Years ago, Twitter would have been an unlikely place for DeSantis to kick off his White House bid. DeSantis joined the website in 2012, when he was running for the US House. His first post was a tribute to the late conservative media pioneer Andrew Breitbart, whom DeSantis called the “king of Twitter.” Over the next six years, his following grew modestly to 11,000 between infrequent posts, at least compared to Trump’s constant missives.

As governor, DeSantis has repeatedly clashed with social media platforms and tech companies over their alleged censorship of conservative voices and, in 2021, he championed a new state law that made it illegal for tech platforms to block or demote content that would otherwise Otherwise, they might breach their terms of service and it provided an avenue for some people to file lawsuits.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association, an organization representing technology companies including Twitter, filed a lawsuit to block the law from taking effect. A judge ruled that the law “requires providers to host speech that violates their rules.”

“Like previous First Amendment restrictions, this is a case of burning down the house to roast a pig,” the judge wrote. (The state appealed to the US Supreme Court, meaning Twitter and Florida were still in a legal disagreement at the time of DeSantis’s announcement.)

DeSantis himself has also previously suggested that his engagement with the website has been minimal. After his official governor’s account drew criticism for posting that “voting is a privilege,” DeSantis distanced himself from the post, revealing that he doesn’t compose his own tweets.

“I don’t tweet, so you can talk to my staff about what my words are,” he said in 2020.

Like many Republicans, however, DeSantis joined Musk’s efforts to buy Twitter as a potential tipping point for conservatives in the tech spaces, and his agenda more recently has often overlapped with the billionaire’s populist priorities. South African.

Threats by DeSantis to intervene on Twitter’s behalf last year ultimately failed to materialize, Twitter’s board of directors agreeing to the sale shortly after DeSantis intervened, while it was Musk who gave intentions to get out of the deal, but took advantage of the confrontation of Silicon Valley as another front in the current culture wars.

“My hope is that Musk gets in there and ends Twitter’s role as the censorship arm of the regime,” DeSantis said at a political rally in Nevada shortly after Twitter agreed to the deal.

Despite Musk’s promises to be a “free speech absolutist,” he has exercised his newfound powers as “Chief Twit” in ways that have alarmed many users and sparked widespread criticism. Under him, Twitter misidentified PBS and NPR as state-run outlets, suspended journalists from the platform after unflattering coverage by Musk and caved in to demands by foreign countries to remove or block certain content.

Musk recently defended Twitter’s decision to restrict access to certain Twitter content in Turkey, arguing that it was necessary to keep the site available to some extent there. The move was strongly criticized by Enes Kanter Freedom, a former NBA player born in Turkey and a fierce critic of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Before criticizing Musk, Kanter Freedom had become a conservative icon for speaking out against LeBron James, another basketball star, and the league’s trade ties with China. DeSantis met with Kanter Freedom and invited him to move to Florida.

Following Musk’s recent moves, Kanter Freedom told WABNEWS: “I don’t want to hear Elon Musk talk about free speech again.”

— Kit Maher and Kim Berryman contributed to this reporting.



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