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Gov. Ron DeSantis responds to Elon Musk's likely vote for him for president: 'I welcome support from African Americans'

Business Insider logo Business Insider 6/15/2022 kleonard@insider.com (Kimberly Leonard)
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he'd likely vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in 2024. John Raoux/AP Photo, Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP, File © Provided by Business Insider Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he'd likely vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in 2024. John Raoux/AP Photo, Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP, File
  • Elon Musk said he'd likely back Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in 2024. 
  • DeSantis was asked to respond, and he said he'd "welcome support from African Americans."
  • The Florida governor is up for reelection in 2022 and hasn't said yet if he's running for president. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis welcomes the political support of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

"I'm focused on 2022," DeSantis, a Republican, said at a press conference in Madeira Beach, Florida. "But with Elon Musk what I would say is: I welcome support from African Americans. What can I say?"

 

DeSantis was mirroring the rhetoric from April by Black conservatives who hailed Musk's planned Twitter takeover.

Musk, who is white, was born in Pretoria, South Africa, and lived there until he was 17 before moving to Canada, where his mother is from. He's now a Texas voter, according to a tweet posted early Wednesday morning where Musk said he'd just voted for Republican Mayra Flores in a special election for a US House seat.

Conservatives in Congress often accuse Twitter of having a left-wing bias especially after the company deplatformed former President Donald Trump for his incitement of the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Musk has promised the social media giant will unleash free speech under his watch. 


Video: Gov. DeSantis to Elon Musk: ‘I Welcome Support From African Americans’ (Veuer)

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Musk, the richest person in the world, said early Wednesday that he'd likely support DeSantis for president in 2024, after the Twitter user Tesla Owners Silicon Valley asked him who he was "leaning towards" voting for as president. 

He added that he supported the Democratic candidate Andrew Yang in the 2020 election but believes DeSantis "has a better chance of winning" in the 2024 election. 

Musk said last month that he would vote Republican in the next election though he'd voted for Democrats in the past. He described himself as a "moderate, neither Republican nor Democrat."

In response to the back and forth on Musk and DeSantis, Florida Democratic Party spokesperson Travis Reuther accused DeSantis of "making his sales pitch to every out-of-state billionaire he can find." DeSantis' candidacy for governor has drawn support from 42 billinaires, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"It's not surprising that another ultra-wealthy billionaire would come out in support of Ron DeSantis," Reuther said, "because that is who DeSantis works for." 

DeSantis has said he's focused on his 2022 race and has not said he's running for president. He tends to brush off questions about it when asked.

Political insiders think DeSantis will run because he has raised $124 million in campaign cash, an enormous sum. He also has been unafraid to insert himself into high-profile battles against the Biden administration. Lots of conservatives view DeSantis as similar to Trump in his policies, but without some of the legal and political baggage that comes with the former president. 

Earlier this month DeSantis beat Trump in a straw poll of self-identified conservative conference-goers at the Western Conservative Summit who were asked who they'd like to be the 2024 presidential nominee. 

Trump is reportedly considering announcing a presidential run as early as July 4 of this year and may do it in Florida to show DeSantis "who the boss is," Rolling Stone reported

This story has been updated to include a response from the Democratic Party of Florida. 

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