- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his campaign for president Wednesday night on Twitter in a bubble bath of warm questions and surrounded by friends. There was no video feed of the “Twitter Spaces” chatroom, but one could imagine the glow of so many scented candles flickering around the sudsy tub.

Maybe even a rubber ducky. And some rose pedals on the floor.

The safe space was provided by Elon Musk, who owns Twitter. Mr. Musk was joined by fellow African-American David Sacks (both men were born in South Africa) in asking gauzy, softball questions that were nestled in Easter baskets of compliments and mutual admiration.

Mr. Musk, who drastically overpaid for Twitter, said free speech is “priceless” and said he wants politicians like Mr. DeSantis to feel welcome on his platform to speak directly to voters and, more importantly, interact with them.

“It’s not just canned speeches and teleprompters,” Mr. Musk said before introducing Mr. DeSantis, who promptly delivered a canned speech. No teleprompter was needed since there was no video feed. But who knows? Maybe there was a teleprompter.

“I’m running for president to lead our great American comeback,” Mr. DeSantis began, sounding strikingly similar to someone else.

He concluded his canned speech by reading the fine print about where to donate to his campaign.

Then the floor was opened to friendly questions.

Mr. Sacks began his first question by explaining how super cool Twitter Spaces is and celebrating how nobody has ever used Twitter Spaces to launch a presidential campaign before and how so many people were trying to get into the virtual event that it crashed the system for 25 minutes.

Mr. DeSantis’ campaign launch on Twitter Spaces was so popular that it “broke the internet,” they said. Mr. Sacks later compared the Florida governor to “a Kardashian.”

Once the Twitter geniuses worked out all the kinks in Twitter Spaces, Mr. Sacks got down to grilling Mr. DeSantis.

“What made you want to kind of take the chance to do it this way?” he asked. Mr. DeSantis explained that he is basically a fearless pioneer always willing to make hard choices and cut against the grain and embrace the future and do what he thinks is right even if it’s never been done before.

Mr. DeSantis learned these lessons in fearlessness while being a brave pioneer as governor of Florida during the COVID lockdowns.

Mr. Sacks then pivoted to the “no shortage of hit pieces” on Mr. DeSantis and asked him how great Florida really is under his leadership.

Full disclosure: I like Mr. DeSantis very much and believe that one day he will make a very fine president. But at this point in the chatroom I was so bored by the soft questions that I tuned out and went upstairs to draw myself a warm bubble bath. When I came back downstairs to the Twitter Spaces geekfest, Mr. DeSantis was still fielding friendly questions from campaign cheerleaders.

At one point, Rep. Thomas Massie, the Kentucky Republican who is one of the finest members of Congress, turned into a fainting fanboy. He gushed over how much he loves Elon Musk and squealed that he was the first member of Congress to own a Tesla.

Mr. DeSantis became so aroused by the sidebar of admiration for someone else that he interjected to confirm that he had indeed seen Mr. Massie’s Tesla and even remembered Mr. Massie’s license plate!

They went from “breaking the internet” to “putting the internet to sleep.” It went on for over an hour as Mr. DeSantis told the group of admirers how great he really was. It was all so — well, sanctimonious.

The great thing about Mr. DeSantis is that he is Mini MAGA — the One True Apprentice of the Ultra MAGA King. That’s also his biggest problem. Why go with the Apprentice when the Master is still available?

Mr. DeSantis even channeled Donald Trump when he later boasted about his crowd size.

“We had a yuge audience,” Mr. DeSantis said, only he pronounced “yuge” with an “h.”

“It was the biggest they ever had. It did break Twitter space. We’re really excited about the enthusiasm.”

All a decent person could think was, “Get a room!” But then you remembered. They already had a room. On Twitter.

• Charles Hurt is the opinion editor for The Washington Times.

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