Trump Had an Escalator. DeSantis Had a Meltdown.


But if politics teaches one thing, it’s never to underestimate the power of novelty. DeSantis’ move was as unusual as Trump’s — whether it was rightly tuned to the moment remains to be seen (it might have had a better shot without the brutal technical difficulties). One thing is clear, though: Their announcements were as different as any two events in recent political history. The man once considered Trump-lite has, in this one way, completely differentiated himself from his rival.

By the numbers:

Number of attendees:

Trump: Dozens lining the escalator, dozens at the event (Trump said “thousands” in his speech)

DeSantis: Around 700,000 (before server crash), around 300,000 (after server crash)

Length of event:

Trump: 47 minutes

DeSantis: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Address of event:

Trump: 725 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10022

DeSantis: (tech glitches only); (DeSantis speaking)




Introductory remarks:

Trump: Ivanka Trump, Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions, Trump Organization

DeSantis: David Sacks, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and major DeSantis donor; Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and owner of Twitter

Most triumphant moment:

Trump: The end of his speech: “Sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again.”

DeSantis: Part of his opening speech: “My pledge to you is this. If you nominate me, you can set your clock to January 20, 2025 at high noon, because on the west side of the U.S. Capitol I will be taking the oath of office as the 47th President of the United States, no excuses. I will get the job done.”

Most awkward moment:

Trump: In the middle of a diatribe against former President Barack Obama, inviting him to play golf: “Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be on one of my courses. I would invite him, I actually would say. I have the best courses in the world, so I’d say, you know what, if he wants to — I have one right next to the White House, right on the Potomac. If he’d like to play, that’s fine.”

DeSantis: Aside from the painful technical difficulties to start, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) breathlessly telling Musk about how he owns a Tesla, and DeSantis chiming in to say, “He’s got the Tesla but his license plate is Kentucky coal.”

Major audience reaction:

Trump: “We want Trump!”

DeSantis: “It crashed again.”

First reference to immigrants:

Trump: “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. … When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.”

DeSantis: “I’ve put a lot of my capital as Florida Governor involved in combating illegal immigration. We banned sanctuary cities my first year. We just did a strong anti illegal immigration bill in Florida that’s working. I put marine assets in the Florida Keys to help the Coast Guard repel boats from places like Haiti. I have people at the southern border right now helping Texas and we’ve even been able to relocate illegal aliens to places like Martha’s Vineyard.”

References to China:

Trump: 23

DeSantis: 0

References to anything “woke”:

Trump: 0

DeSantis: 6

References to censorship:

Trump: 0

DeSantis: 5

References to Twitter:

Trump: 0

DeSantis: 5

References to a border wall:

Trump: 2

DeSantis: 2

References to Tom Brady:

Trump: 1

DeSantis: 0

References to “the media”:

Trump: 0

DeSantis: 10

References to family:

Trump: 8

DeSantis: 1

Number of family members on hand for the announcement:

Trump: 11

DeSantis: Unknown

Timing of official announcement:

Trump: 16 minutes into speech

DeSantis: 25 minutes into Twitter Space

Some other notables in the room:

Trump: Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, Jared Kushner

DeSantis: Caitlyn Jenner, Megyn Kelly, Eric Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Libs of TikTok

Number of times “Rockin’ in the Free World” by Neil Young played:

Trump: 3

DeSantis: 0

Person next to him:


DeSantis (virtually):