Donald Trump ridiculed his rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination on Truth Social during the early morning hours of Thursday, publishing an image with the words “Failure to Launch,” next to Ron DeSantis. And while it’s entirely expected that Trump would go after DeSantis, considering the Florida governor recently announced his desire to become the Republican nominee for president, the image also has a second high-profile figure that everyone will recognize. Yes, that’s Elon Musk, who helped DeSantis launch his campaign last week with an announcement on Twitter Spaces.
Trump shared the image shortly after 1 a.m. ET. It includes both DeSantis and Musk looking rather somber. A rocket emblazoned with the year 2024 sits in a crumpled mess behind the two men, who both look like they’re on the verge of tears. Obviously, Trump is hoping to make fun of the incredibly buggy way that DeSantis launched his campaign on Twitter, an announcement plagued with technical problems, but it’s notable that the former president likely now sees Musk as an enemy as well.
It’s not immediately clear whether the image shared by Trump features real photos taken of DeSantis and Musk, but they look like they could’ve been created with artificial intelligence tools like Midjourney or DALL-E. AI has become a potent weapon in political fights online, with legions of supporters for any candidate often creating fake images both for and against a given nominee.
It also wouldn’t be the first time Trump has utilized fake images on Truth Social. The former president shared an AI-created image of himself praying back in March, though it’s not clear who created that fake photo. Trump’s many critics got their revenge, however, by creating images of the former president getting arrested and posing for mugshots. The arrest of Trump eventually happened. The mugshots, however, did not. But that didn’t stop Trump from selling merchandise with his fake mugshot.
It’s also not clear who created this fake image of DeSantis and Musk, though Trump’s campaign presumably found it in some dark corner of the internet. Trump even has an army of unofficial video producers who create content for Twitter making fun of President Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis. One recent example featured DeSantis’ face forced into a scene from the TV show “The Office” where the character Michael Scott is ridiculed for accidentally wearing women’s clothes.
Trump really loves fake images and has helped spread them for years, even when he was president. Back in 2019, when Trump was in the White House, his campaign shared images on Facebook that made him both thinner and have longer fingers, if you can believe it.
It’s going to be a tough road ahead for Americans, with a year and a half separating us from the next presidential election on November 5, 2024. So batten down the hatches and get ready. The fakes are coming. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that more fakes are coming.