Donald Trump has posted a fake clip of Ron DeSantis’ 2024 launch on Twitter Spaces – featuring George Soros, Adolf Hitler and the devil.
The former president went on the attack against the Florida governor before, during and after the hotly-anticipated launch event, as the two men prepare to go head-to-head for the Republican nomination.
In one of his most bizarre attacks, Mr Trump posted a two-minute video on his Truth Social page which had been doctored to look like Mr DeSantis’ Twitter Spaces event.
However, the participants in the fake event included Nazi leader Hitler, billionaire businessman Mr Soros, World Economic Forum chairman Klaus Schwab, former vice president Dick Cheney, the FBI and the devil – as well as Mr Musk, Mr DeSantis and Mr Trump.
The clip suggested that the medley of participants were all backing Mr DeSantis’ run for president while also poking fun at the technical glitches that plagued the Florida governor’s launch event, with a coughing Mr Soros – a constant target of far-right conspiracy theories – struggling to connect with the participants at the start.
It also pushed a conspiracy that the FBI if out to “take out” Mr Trump, with a fake agent joining the call and asking: “So how are we going to take out Trump guys?”
After being told the event is open to the public, the fake FBI agent quickly leaves the call.
Following a brief and chaotic announcement from Mr DeSantis, a fake Mr Trump jumps into the conversation at the end where he vows to fight back against each of the call participants.
“Hold your horses Elon, the real president is going to say a few words,” he says.
“Devil, I’m going to kick your a** very soon. Hitler you’re already dead, Dick Cheney it sounds like you’ll be joining Hitler very soon.
“Klaus Schwab and George Soros, I’m putting both your a**es in jail and Ron DeSanctimonious you can kiss my big, beautiful 2024 presidential a**. Trump 2024 baby, let’s go.”
Mr Trump made several other posts mocking Mr DeSantis’ entrance into the 2024 race, branding it a “disaster” and posting a video of a Tesla rocket with “Ron” written over it crashing.
Mr DeSantis’ hotly-anticipated 2024 campaign launch plunged into chaos on Wednesday night when it was marred by technical glitches from the off.
The Florida governor, 44, chose to announce his presidential run in an unconventional way – in a Twitter Spaces event with Mr Musk and controversial entrepreneur David Sacks.
But, the event got off to a rocky start when it crashed several times and the sound repeatedly dropped out.
While Mr Musk claimed the servers were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people tuning in to listen, Mr DeSantis faced ridicule for the underwhelming launch from online commentators and both sides of the political aisle.
Mr Trump’s son Don Jr coined the term “DeSaster” – a hashtag that soon began trending on Twitter – while Mr Trump ally Matt Gaetz simply tweeted: “DeSedative”.
President Joe Biden also joined in the ridicule, posting a link to his donation page with the quip: “This link works.”
Democratic congresswoman AOC joked that she had more viewers join her online when she famously played Among Us on Twitch.
Mr DeSantis, who is seen as Mr Trump’s biggest rival for the Republican vote, sought to brush off the debacle in a Fox News interview.
In the launch, he laid out his plans for his campaign run – speaking mostly about the issues of the right-wing culture war that he has made a centrepiece of his role as Florida governor.
“I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” Mr DeSantis said.
“American decline is not inevitable. It is a choice,” he said. “And we should choose a new direction, a path that will lead to American revitalisation.”