DeSantis finally launches his campaign, and Trump and the MSM attack

The MSM and President Trump's supporters and minions were clearly lying in wait for Florida governor Ron DeSantis's unconventional campaign launch on Twitter yesterday.  Actually, any announcement by the governor would have been fair game for his many enemies and opponents.

Twitter's Open Spaces audio platform, the medium chosen by DeSantis for his official campaign launch yesterday, was overwhelmed by a million or more users who tried to access it, surpassing the capacity of the platform for the first twenty minutes.  The MSM's headlines tell the story.  Two typical examples of hundreds: "DeSantis' Twitter launch disaster shows Musk's platform isn't ready for prime time" (CNN), "Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign launch melts down in Twitter glitches" (NBC).  The coverage on MSNBC and CNN, meanwhile, was over-the-top woke.

Of all people, I was surprised to see Chris Cuomo, in his new prime-time program on NewsNation, describing it best (to paraphrase): an internet glitch is no big deal.  It happens all the time.  Hint: Remember the disastrous online debut of — President Obama's signature Obamacare launch on October 1, 2013 — at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars?

After the issues with the DeSantis Twitter feed were resolved after about twenty minutes of tweaking, it went forward as scheduled without a hitch for the next hour.  A recording of it is here.  I have not been able to locate a transcript.

Less than two hours later, DeSantis appeared live for an interview that lasted 35 minutes on FOX News Tonight, hosted this week by former rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).  A complete transcript does not appear to be online, although FOX News's website has the video of the eleven-minute-long opening segment here.

DeSantis on FOX spoke without notes and apparently without the use of a teleprompter.

Full disclosure: I do not have a horse in this race, so to speak, and am open to see and hear what all of the declared candidates have to say.  So far, I have been impressed with Sen. Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy, and with the record of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president.  I have to say that I find Trump's focus on, or obsession with, DeSantis, and his well funded TV attack ads on the Florida governor (to the tune of tens of millions of dollars), to be off-putting.  But that's Donald Trump.

FOX News provided journalists who report on media, including me, with a complete transcript of the Gowdy-DeSantis interview.  I have edited the 5,600 words down to about 1,400.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We had a huge audience. It was the biggest they'd ever had. It did break the Twitter Space.

And so we're really excited with the enthusiasm. But, ultimately, it's about the future of our country, Trey. I'm running to lead a great American comeback. We know the country's on the wrong track. We see it with our eyes. We feel it in our bones. We see the border being overrun. We see crime infesting the cities.

We see the federal government making it more difficult for families to make ends meet. And we have a president who is a listless vessel, not energetic, and not dealing with the key challenges that are facing our country. But it does not have to be this way. Our decline as a country is not inevitable. It is a choice.

And I think we can choose a better pathway. And so what I will do is help restore normalcy to our communities, integrity to our institutions, and sanity to our society. Truth needs to be the foundation of everything we do. And common sense can no longer be an uncommon virtue. We proved it could be done in Florida. . .

TREY GOWDY, FOX NEWS HOST:  All right, Governor, people hear words and sometimes use words like woke or culture wars.

What is the role of the president in participating in culture wars? And I will ask you specifically about education, because many conservatives think that's a state issue, but that's also a battleground for what people call woke or culture wars. As president, what role do you play?

I know governor, but, as president, what role would you play?

DESANTIS:  Well, first of all, the woke mind virus is basically a form of cultural Marxism.

At the end of the day, it's an attack on the truth. And because it's a war on truth, I think we have no choice but to wage a war on woke. So how does that work for a president? Some of it may be the bully pulpit, being willing to tell the truth, and not being deluded by ideology, which we see in many aspects of our society.

There are probably ways, though, that you can make a difference. Certainly, when you look at ESG and some of the things that's going on with major financial institutions in corporate America, we have every right to be pushing back on that. With education, you know, the federal government approves the accredit — creditors for universities.

There's a reason why universities are infested with things like DEI. Yes, some of it is, they may want to do that, but some of it is, the accreditors tell them, you have to do that.

Well, as president, I will make sure we're approving accreditors that are going to do the opposite, that are going to say, you know what, we're going to credit you if you are a colorblind university, if you're not trying to divide people on the basis of race.

So, there are different tools at your disposal. It's not the same as the — as a governor. But I think you can have an impact across a wide variety of different areas.

GOWDY: I'm going to let you take us to our first break by letting people know that it's OK, it's safe to travel to Florida, despite what the NAACP — and I believe the chairman of the NAACP may actually live in Florida, so maybe his house is for sale.


GOWDY:  But I will let you take us to the break by addressing the travel advisory.

DESANTIS:  It's a typical political stunt.

First of all, Florida's crime rate is at a 50-year low. Compare that to places like Chicago or Baltimore. I don't hear the NAACP talking about that. If you look at our education system, we have school choice. That's one of the reasons why our black students perform as high as just about any black students in the country. We're second and third in fourth grade math and reading, respectively, because parents have options.

You go to Baltimore, Chicago, some of these kids are more likely to get shot than to actually have a high-quality education. I don't hear the NAACP talking about that. So, we're proud of what we have been able to do. And, oh, by the way, Trey, quarter one of 2023, Florida set yet another tourism record.

And I can tell you, since I have been governor, some of the people who've contributed to our record tourism have been board members of the NAACP. How do I know? Because they put pictures of their Florida vacation on their social media accounts.

So, this is an attempt to create a phony narrative. But I think people are onto this stuff. They know what it is. And they take it with a grain of salt, and they dismiss it. . .

Trey Gowdy interviews Florida governor Ron DeSantis, FOX News channel May 24, 2023.

GOWDY:  All right, let's move to the border.

Legal immigration, illegal immigration, President Ron DeSantis does what, does what on border security, does what on the asylum process? What is your immigration plan for both legal and illegal immigration?

DESANTIS:  Day one, it's a national emergency. We will mobilize all resources to construct the border wall, shut the border down.

We're not going to be entertaining asylum claims for people coming across the border illegally. We're going to make very clear about that. We're going to have things like remain-in-Mexico, so we don't have the incentives to come illegally. We do need to hold these Mexican drug cartels accountable. And we will be looking at levers that we can pull to be able to do that.

At the end of the day, nobody has a right to come to our country illegally. We, the American people, can determine what type of immigration system that we want. I think the purpose of immigration is to benefit our country. And so, if people coming illegally does not benefit, which I don't think it is, then we shouldn't do it. . .

GOWDY:  All right, you wore the uniform.

If you are elected president, you may be the first one in a while to have worn the uniform. How would you address the ongoing war in Eastern Europe between Russia and Ukraine on day one of a Ron DeSantis presidency?

DESANTIS:  Well, first, I think what we need to do, as a veteran, is recognize that our military has become politicized.

You talk about gender ideology. You talk about things like global warming, that they're somehow concerned. And that's not the military that I served in. We need to return our military to focusing on commitment, focusing on the core values and the core mission. That would be something that I could take care of on day one.

There will be a new sheriff in town as commander in chief, and I think you will see recruiting start to get back to where it needs to be, because people don't want to join a woke military. And I think it's been really, really problematic.

Look, in terms of what's going on over in Eastern Europe, I'd like to see a settlement of this. I do not want to see a wider war. I think it's completely unknowable what it will look like in January of 2025, but I would not want to see the United States with our troops get enmeshed in a war in Russia or in Ukraine. . .

GOWDY:  President Ron DeSantis would deal with China how?

DESANTIS:  To recognize that they are our foremost geopolitical threat.

I think our economies have become way too intermingled. If you look, during the Soviet era, we were never intermingled with their economy. Now we have critical things that we rely on our foremost adversary for. During COVID, it was almost everything.

So I think we need to reshore some of these critical manufacturing items. I think we need to have a robust relationship with Japan, Korea, India, Australia to make sure that we can check Chinese expansionism in the Pacific. We also have to recognize that China is getting a foothold in our own Western Hemisphere.

I think we need a 21st century version of the Monroe Doctrine, where we're making sure that our own backyard is a freedom zone. We have got a lot of leftist governments in Latin America that have invited them in. I think that's really bad for our national security. But we have to understand that China is a threat.

I think Biden, for whatever reasons, has been — has been lack on China, and I think he's begging China to do some type of a deal with Ukraine and Russia. And I think that would be a mistake to involve Xi in that.

Readers interested in comparing what Gov. DeSantis had to say on FOX News last night with what Sen. Tim Scott had to say in his FOX News interview with Trey Gowdy on May 22 and what President Trump had to say in his CNN town hall two weeks ago can click on the links to access the transcripts of both of them.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who has covered national politics, including a number of presidential races starting in 1972, and the politics and economics of health care, popular culture, and media for over five decades.  His web page with links to his work is  Peter's extensive American Thinker archive:  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

If you experience technical problems, please write to