The launch was due to take place on Wednesday at 6pm Eastern Time.
The event was initially delayed by several minutes, and when it began the audio frequently cut out.
Moderator David Sacks said so many people were trying to listen that it was ‘melting the internet’.
By 6:30pm, the audio was down and DeSantis was yet to utter a word. They began again around 10 minutes later, with Sacks congratulating DeSantis for ‘breaking the internet’ and Musk saying it was refreshing not to have ‘canned speeches and teleprompters – it’s real.’
The internet erupted in mockery.
‘Who here thinks #DeSantis would have been better off launching on Disney streaming? #Fail,’ tweeted one, referencing DeSantis’s bruising battle with the entertainment company.
A meme likened DeSantis – who famously wore white rain boots in October, while surveying hurricane damage – to the witch crushed by the house in the Wizard of Oz.
Mickey Mouse was depicted kneeling beside the house, with white rain boots sticking out beneath.
Ron DeSantis intended to launch his presidential campaign on Twitter on Wednesday evening, but the technology crashed
A meme showed DeSantis’s white rain boots pocking out beneath a house, with Mickey Mouse looking on – a parody of Wizard of Oz
DeSantis’s white rain boots went viral in October 2022, as he surveyed hurricane damage in Florida
‘Biggest fail in campaign launches in history,’ tweeted another.
‘Nice one DeSantis. Brought to you by Elon L Musk.’
One person tweeted a meme of an engineer staring at a server, captioned: ‘Elon right now.’
Another shared a picture of a rocket exploding – playing with the title of the event: ‘Presidential Launch’.
He captioned the picture: ‘Ron DeSantis learning what happens when you launch things with Elon Musk’.
Others commented on how astonishing it was that the demand was not predicted, and that additional server bandwidth was not secured.
‘It is having issues,’ said one.
‘DeSantis 2024: Technical issues,’ joked another.
Another speculated: ‘Welp maybe Elon was planning to ruin the Desantis rollout’.
Musk and Sacks said that the problem was server bandwidth, and that they resolved it by hosting the event from Sacks’ account rather than Musk’s.
Sacks, a billionaire venture capitalist and DeSantis supporter, has 665,000 followers: Musk has 140 million.
‘My account was breaking the system,’ Musk said.
DeSantis laughed off the chaos, as Musk said it was proof that their encounter was live and real.
The Florida governor then went on Fox News and joked about the fiasco.
‘It did break the Twitter space,’ he told host Trey Gowdy.
DeSantis’s team said $1 million was raised in one hour, thanks to the Twitter spectacle.
But the ridicule was relentless, ensuring that DeSantis’s much-heralded launch will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
One asked whether Musk was operating on an AOL dial-up connection.
Tara Golshan, a senior editor at Vanity Fair’s Hive, said: ‘Shall we all just go with the video he put out and call it a day?’
One said it was ‘a gift to mainstream media’, while Ben Collins, senior reporter at NBC, said the idea that it was the biggest online gathering ever was ‘ludicrous’.
Brian Stelter, a media analyst formerly of CNN, agreed, saying: ‘Musk and Sacks are bragging about having half a million listeners – “probably the biggest room that’s ever been assembled online” – when in fact YouTube and other companies have been live-streaming video to millions simultaneously for years.’
Igor Bobic, senior reporter with Huffington Post, jokingly referenced space flight jargon.
‘Looks like Twitter Spaces /DeSantis announce has experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly,’ he said.
And Luke Ball, a Trump-supporting conservative commentator, tweeted: ‘Great start…’