When he kicked off his presidential campaign in May, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was the GOP’s favorite alternative to former President Donald Trump.
But now, national polling shows that DeSantis’ footing is slipping, dropping more than eight points on average since June.
DeSantis’ dip in support could be attributed to a potential number of factors including his policy stances on issues like abortion, an increased interest in former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s campaign, or Trump’s frequent criticism of him.
Perhaps, his waning support could also be explained by the fact that Ron DeSantis is just sort of … weird.
Because over the past year, a number of odd DeSantis moments have gone viral, leaving the public baffled. Here are the weirdest.
Ron DeSantis’ weird 2023 moments
He is still learning how to smile
DeSantis raised eyebrows online during Republican presidential debates for the way he smiles. Both his smile and other seemingly facial tics have been repeatedly pointed out on social media.
“Please someone help him smile,” one person said back in September.
Others have noted different, awkward facial movements, such as grinding his teeth during an interview and seeming like he’s “got Homelander tics.”
He may have eaten pudding with his fingers
There’s no video of the incident, but the Daily Beast reported in March that he ate chocolate pudding with three fingers during a private plane flight in 2019.
He has not flatly denied the allegation but has said he doesn’t “remember ever doing that” and may have when he was a kid.
The report has come back to haunt him a bit since, with hecklers yelling “pudding fingers” and a pro-Trump super PAC making the story about him “sticking his fingers where they don’t belong” the focus of one of its ads.
He frequently wipes his nose in public
Throughout the year, DeSantis has faced some pretty snotty and gross accusations on social media.
Videos—including one from a 9/11 Memorial in New York—purport to show DeSantis frequently wiping boogers.
”I’ve never seen someone touch his nose as much as Desantis does,” commented one user at the time.
In a separate incident, the governor in May wiped his face during a campaign stop in Iowa before shaking hands with an elderly supporter. Critics say DeSantis got snot on the supporter during the interaction, though the clip does not show any visible snot.
“It’s like every time he’s around people, he’s so awkward, but he’s literally wiping the sweat off of his face and then touching people and rubbing his nose,” Trump ally Kari Lake said. “Ron, use a tissue, please. The people of Iowa do not appreciate having your runny nose and your sweaty face rubbed all over them.”
He wants to bomb Mexico
DeSantis said in August that if elected, he would utilize U.S. special forces to take out cartel operations in Mexico on day one.
“We will absolutely reserve the right if they’re invading our country and killing our people,” DeSantis said in response to a voter’s question about if he’d be open to using drone strikes against cartels in Mexico.
A campaign spokesperson later told Politico that DeSantis does not intend to send American troops into Mexico on Inauguration Day, calling DeSantis’ talk about timing “semantic.”
However, the spokesperson said: “If you have an enemy over the border taking refuge, then America reserves the right to go in and protect Americans.”
He probably didn’t kick a dog
This is an allegation DeSantis’ team strongly denies that was made by author Michael Wolff in his book “The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty.”
Wolff, whose reporting has been frequently criticized, alleged that DeSantis sought to curry favor from then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson and attended a lunch with Carlson and his wife, when he “pushed” one of the family’s dogs under the table and possibly kicked it.
A spokesperson for DeSantis called the story “absurd and false,” while Carlson—who has been vocal about his support for Trump in the 2024 election—said Wolff’s account was “totally made up” and that DeSantis never kicked his dog.
He might be wearing secret lifts
The internet frequently speculated over the past year that DeSantis uses a secret wedge or lift in his boots to make himself appear taller.
“Tell me he’s not wearing hidden heels,” stated one TikTok user with a diagram purporting to show the hidden wedge.
The allegations have been widely mocked, including by rivals Trump and Haley, the latter of whom joked that she has “always talked about my high heels.”
DeSantis has denied wearing heels and says he is 5’11.
He printed out the poop map
If you wind up in a debate with DeSantis, be prepared for him to throw some crap at you.
At least that’s what we saw during his much-anticipated debate with Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), when he came prepared with a “poop map” visualizing feces found across the streets of San Francisco.
When he visited the city amid his ongoing feud with Newsom in June, DeSantis claimed he personally saw people “defecating on the street,” “using heroin,” and “smoking crack cocaine.”
His wife and he pronounce their last name differently
Questions about the correct pronunciation of DeSantis have been swirling since he ran for governor in 2018, but resurfaced after he announced his presidential bid—and video showed his wife saying his name differently than he does.
Casey DeSantis appears to pronounce the name as “Duh-Santis,” while the governor frequently says “Dee-Santis.” He has used the other pronunciation at times as well, however.
The issue was even highlighted by Trump, who reshared a post on Truth Social that questioned “Who changes the pronunciation of their last name in their 40s?”
He endorsed a blog sponsored by a puppy mill
DeSantis has taken a number of actions to prevent the mistreatment of animals as governor, but one of his favorite right-wing blogs is sponsored in part by a dog breeder whose companies have been on the Humane Society’s “Horrible Hundred” list of puppy mills and sellers multiple times.
As reported by the Daily Dot in March, the blog—Florida’s Voice—has plenty of access to DeSantis and has received his endorsement as well.
The sponsoring breeder denies allegations of mistreating animals.
He wants to RFK Jr. to go after the CDC
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could land a top spot at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if DeSantis has his way.
“If you’re president, you know, sic him [Kennedy] on the FDA if he’d be willing to serve, or sic him on CDC,” DeSantis said in July before ruling out the possibility of him serving as vice president.
RFK Jr., who is in the midst of his own fledgling presidential campaign as an independent, has promoted misinformation and conspiracies about vaccines including that the COVID-19 vaccine was designed to control people with microchips.
DeSantis said he and RFK Jr. are aligned on their views about the federal government’s response to COVID but that he “wouldn’t be the head of CDC,” because that role would go to “a doctor or a PhD.”
But RFK Jr. could be used to audit the organization.
And taken all together, it’s fair to say that Ron DeSantis is pretty weird.