When he was asked about Mr Musk’s support for him on Wednesday, Mr DeSantis said, “I’m focused on 2022, but with Elon Musk, what I would say is I welcome support from African Americans. What can I say?”
Mr Musk was born to white parents in South Africa in 1971. He grew up in Pretoria before moving to Canada at the age of 17 and he later moved to the US.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO issued hesitant support for Mr DeSantis after saying that he voted for Republican congressional candidate Mayra Flores, who won a special election in Texas on Tuesday.
“I voted for Mayra Flores – first time I ever voted Republican. Massive red wave in 2022,” Mr Musk tweeted.
“I assume Republican for president [too]?” one Twitter user asked.
“[To be determined],” Mr Musk replied.
“What are you leaning towards?” he was asked in a follow-up question.
“DeSantis,” Musk said.
Democratic Florida state representative Angie Nixon responded to the clip of Mr DeSantis, writing on Twitter that Mr DeSantis “suppresses the vote, cuts funding and pushes policies that attack Black Americans and their communities in Florida”.
“It’s embarrassing how hard this dude is trying to be Trump in every single way,” another Twitter user said. “He even does the same hand movements and mannerisms as Trump. Just the most pathetic, snivelling s**t.”
Social Epidemiologist Melissa Ward added that “we really need to have nuanced conversations about the complexities of race in South Africa past and present and how South African racial identities translate in the US. Good lord”.
“This is a middle finger and spit in the face to all Black people in America. It really shows what MAGA thinks about Black [people],” another Twitter user said.
Zachary Bretton added: “I really … hate this joke the conservatives have decided to run with. They’re purposefully corrupting terminology like they love to do. This needs to be sharply and swiftly called out. It’s dog whistle racism being played through a bullhorn.”
“Black People, I hope you see how we are the butt of Ron DeSantis jokes. He isn’t afraid to hide his disrespect and remember, the cruelty is the point,” Demonze Spruiel wrote.
“You can tell when someone has never faced a single consequence their entire life,” another account holder said.
Mr DeSantis is an ally of former President Donald Trump as well as a possible opponent for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
The Florida Governor and former congressman has beaten Mr Trump in recent polls of GOP activists.
Mr DeSantis has been accused of signing gerrymandering legislation cutting back on the power of Black voters. He has also signed a law banning the discussion of gender identity and sexuality in some classrooms in the state.
The governor has also instituted bans on math textbooks that Republicans claim include Critical Race Theory – a term for university-level law studies of race but which has been co-opted by conservatives to mean any mentioning of race in schools at any level.
Mr DeSantis has also attempted to outlaw gender-affirming care for trans youth and he entered into a battle with Disney after the company opposed his attack on LGBT+ rights following pressure from its employees.