DeSantis 2024 launch: Not as bad as you think?
He raised a lot of money and previewed attacks on Trump.
Good afternoon and welcome to Press Pass, The Bulwark’s twice-weekly look into Congress, campaigns, and the way Washington works. The GOP presidential field nearly doubled in size this week and campaign season will be in full swing before you know it. If you want to stay ahead of the race, it’s a good time to subscribe to Bulwark+, which gives you exclusive reporting and analysis, live shows, and ad-free podcasts.
The Ron DeSantis 2024 presidential campaign is officially underway, and to put it bluntly, it did not begin well. But that hasn’t stopped DeSantis from pulling off a major media blitz and a show of strength in the fundraising department. He’s also working on a line of attack against Donald Trump that might be his smartest play yet. We’ll get into the details on all of that and more below.
Ron flops at the opening
Ron DeSantis’s campaign rollout was historic in the bad way. If his now-official presidential candidacy flames out, DeSantis’s heavily delayed and error-plagued first interview—which he decided to do with an erratic billionaire famous for selling cars that spontaneously explode—will be a natural reference point in future coverage of every campaign that screws up their launch. If he defies his longshot odds and secures the Republican nomination, though, this episode will be a footnote. You can read more about the launch from my colleagues Charlie Sykes and Jonathan V. Last and watch The Bulwark crew share their immediate reactions during last night’s live show.
DeSantis’s messaging was also all over the place. He spent his initial Twitter Spaces conversation talking about Disney, long-gone COVID mandates, and how great a platform Twitter is since Musk took over. The interviews that followed in traditional cable news outlets weren’t much different, content-wise, but they were at least conducted in more controlled and accessible formats.