After failed Twitter rollout, DeSantis team talks strategy
MIAMI — Undeterred by the glitches-filled launch that left some of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ supporters acknowledging it was a flop, the newly minted campaign team spent Thursday briefing supporters and detailing their strategy to defeat former President Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary.
The Miami donor summit was an opportunity for DeSantis strategists to lay out their vision for the next year and try to drum up excitement that their tactics will boost the Florida governor beyond Trump, on which they also bet. misfortunes, according to interviews with several participants.
DeSantis kicked off his offering Wednesday night with Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces, an audio chat platform that was overwhelmed with hundreds of thousands of listeners. As a result, the early stages of the event sometimes included hosts openly lamenting the technological failure.
“We have so many people here that we’re melting the servers,” said David Sacks, a tech entrepreneur who is a longtime friend of Musk and a political supporter of DeSantis, during the early stages of the move. ‘event.
The stops and starts, including a struggle to get Musk and DeSantis into the virtual event, gave ammunition to his main rival, former President Donald Trump, and a moment of recoil for his supporters.
A veteran Republican agent from Florida joked: ‘Rarely is something so horrific that in the midst of it you know you are witnessing a moment in history that will be both a punch and a narrative. uplifting for decades, but DeSantis got a questionable accolade tonight.”
Another called it “f—colossal”.
A third person close to the DeSantis political operation lamented that the operation failed the governor of Florida.
“I think Governor DeSantis deserves a campaign worthy of his candidacy. And I think failure is one thing, but completely predictable failure is another,” the third person said.
The source also said there were internal concerns over the unconventional launch plan; not everyone on the DeSantis team was on board with the idea. Some thought it was too risky and the campaign should have opted for a more traditional and controlled deployment.
Some of this split became evident in the messaging sequels. The Never Back Down, DeSantis-backing super PAC isn’t mimicking “break the internet” language and is instead pushing that they knocked on 30,000 doors in Iowa yesterday and began door-to-door efforts in the New Hampshire.
It’s rare that something is so horrifying that in the middle of it you know you’re witnessing a moment in history that will be both a punch and a cautionary tale for decades to come, but DeSantis has earned a dubious distinction tonight.
A veteran Republican agent
DeSantis, meanwhile, tried to cast the event as positive, noting the huge audience and for the event that made international headlines, even if not for all the right reasons.
“That was probably the biggest story in the world yesterday,” DeSantis said on Erick Erickson’s radio show on Thursday, the same day the world saw Washington attempt to broker a debt ceiling deal and music legend Tina Turner has passed away.
The launch came as top donors and supporters gathered Wednesday and Thursday at the Four Seasons hotel in Miami to begin raising funds for the campaign and get their marching orders from top DeSantis advisers.
Among those attending the event — which was part networking cocktail party and part serious listening session — included former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who narrowly lost a candidacy to the US Senate in 2022, and Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez, according to three people. who were there.
Several donors who spoke to NBC News insisted they did not view the Twitter issue as a debacle. Instead, they saw the crash as a sign of interest in DeSantis and blamed the platform and Musk, not the campaign.
“There was no hand twist…it was like ‘he broke the internet. There were cheers, that sort of thing,” said one of the bundlers in the room.
The person did, however, admit that “after a few minutes, it was like, ‘what is this? Let’s settle this.'”
“I think initially it was like, ‘oh it crashed.’ I think it was received because there’s so much interest in the campaign that it broke the platform,” another donor said. “It was like a ton of energy.”
DeSantis’ senior campaign staff gave a presentation that afternoon, which was attended by about 100 donors. There, they mapped out a path forward for DeSantis, which included promises that the governor would have the best infrastructure on the ground and be the best-funded candidate. The briefing pointed out that the campaign was focused on the first four states – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina – and that DeSantis planned to win the first two states by campaigning “in the living rooms” and other events in person.
Advisers argued it would be a juxtaposition with the mega-rallys Trump typically holds. The presenters said Iowa is “essential” to the campaign and promised to work hard to reach voters there, according to those present.
DeSantis’ team framed the contest as a two-man race against Trump and predicted the primary would likely be decided after Super Tuesday on March 5.
In the briefing, staff made it clear that the campaign would seek to contrast Trump, including that DeSantis would position himself as a “values” candidate, due to his past focus on parental rights education and issues. culture war over Trump, who is said to be bogged down by legal issues including a criminal case and the jury’s decision finding him liable for sexual assault and defamation.
“There was a lot of excitement,” said a donor who was in the room. “This is not a patch-toether superdelegate strategy. It is a shock and awe in the first four states.
Beyond pushing the ground game in the early states, DeSantis’ campaign is hosting nearly two dozen fundraisers in Texas, Florida, California, Nevada, Pennsylvania and New Jersey during the month. next, according to a schedule provided to NBC News.
DeSantis meets with donors at a dinner Thursday where he will give a talk about the early stages of the campaign.
The official launch kicks off DeSantis’ clash with Trump, whose endorsement of DeSantis during the 2018 Florida gubernatorial campaign helped him build a national political brand.
DeSantis’ campaign stumbled was much noticed by Trump, who trolled DeSantis in a rambling post on his own Truth Social social media site that mentioned the North Korean dictator.
“‘Rob,'” Trump wrote, a name he started using to refer to DeSantis. “My red pimple is bigger, better, stronger and works (TRUTH!), not yours! (From my conversation with soon to be friend Kim Jong Un from North Korea.