Ron DeSantis’s choice to enter the presidential stakes with a Twitter Spaces conversation is unusual. Odder still is the news that he will do so in an interview conducted by Elon Musk, and a discussion moderated by David Sacks. There are so many questions here: the most obvious being, “why did you choose to roll out with a pair of wealthy tech investors from the PayPal Mafia, known as much for their accomplishments as for their eccentricities?” But here is also the question about the questions: what will DeSantis be asked?
One question that might come up given the Very Online nature of this interview concerns one figure whose connections to the billionaire and political class have proven so embarrassing for those in power: Jeffrey Epstein. The late sex offender and shadowy finance figure has been back in the headlines of late thanks to reporting from the Wall Street Journal, which unveiled new information obtained from previously unreported calendars and communications. These include a potential blackmail of Bill Gates over his relationship with a young Russian bridge player — an indication of the degree to which so much about Epstein’s activities remains a mystery.
In response to the Journal‘s reporting, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has already announced that if elected, he would release “the full Epstein client list,” writing on Twitter: “The administrative-police state should stop protecting its chief sponsors while weaponizing itself against its opponents. The first step to fix corruption is to see it.”
DeSantis has interacted with this story before, beginning in 2019 when he announced a state attorney investigation into Epstein’s Florida plea deal over allegations that he had gotten a slap on the wrist from then-prosecutor Alex Acosta, who later served as Donald Trump’s labor secretary before being forced to resign. The Florida investigation, along with others, ultimately found no criminal wrongdoing, leaving many of Epstein’s victims unsatisfied and prompting new conspiracy theories about why Epstein had been treated so leniently.
There’s an opportunity here for DeSantis to take a stand that would potentially send ripples through the Twitter audience, even if it isn’t something that will be front of mind for many voters: commit that as president, he would release any and all information about Epstein — not just the client list, but what the government knows about his connections and relationships with the powerful. Taking such a stand would do more than just ruffle feathers — it would demonstrate how much DeSantis is an outsider committed to draining the swamp, and not someone beholden to the jet-set elites. Americans deserve to know the truth.