Donald Trump launched a bizarre attack on Ron DeSantis after he officially announced his presidential campaign during a glitch-filled Twitter Spaces event.
The 45th US president sparked confusion with a post on his Truth Social platform where he appeared to deliberately call DeSantis by the wrong first name while alluding to his “Red Button” and referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
His message followed the Florida Governor’s formal announcement of his bid for the White House during a Twitter Spaces event with Elon Musk that started almost half-an-hour late and crashed the app due to the high number of users tuning in.
“‘Rob,’ My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working (TRUTH!), yours does not! (per my conversation with Kim Jung Un, of North Korea, soon to become my friend!),” wrote Trump just before 7pm on Wednesday.
Political commentators reacted with confusion to Trump’s post on social media.
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Tweeting in response to the former president’s comments, conservative writer AG Hamilton wrote: “DeSantis has been talking about detailed and substantive policy issues for the last hour.
“This is what you get from Trump. If people want idiocracy and entertainment, Trump might be the better option. If you want substance on the right, DeSantis is it.”
Author and fellow at the Claremont Institute, David Reaboi, took to Twitter to describe Trump’s post as “Mentally disturbed”.
DeSantis is widely regarded as Trump’s most formidable rival as the two prepare to fight it out for the chance to take on Joe Biden as the Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election.
The formal announcement of his presidential campaign ended months of intense speculation about his intentions. In the moments before DeSantis’ announcement, Trump posted two videos to Truth Social criticising his rival.
The first saw Trump claiming credit for DeSantis’ first gubernatorial win in Florida and accused him of being a traitor to the MAGA cause.
The second paints the 44-year-old as an establishment figure and claims Trump is the only candidate capable of standing up to such powerful forces, including US adversaries like China.
Donald Trump Jr also took aim at DeSantis following his campaign launch. Referencing Jeb Bush, who his father vanquished in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, he tweeted: “DeSantis is making JEB! look high energy right now.”
DeSantis’ Twitter Spaces event failed to begin at its scheduled start time of 18.00pm ET as the social media platform went into “meltdown,” according to billionaire Musk.
He said, “It’s really going crazy”, 15 minutes after the event was due to kick off.