Ron DeSantis’s awkward smile goes viral after first Republican debate

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s awkward smile went viral after the first Republican primary debate in Milwaukee.

The moment came after Mr DeSantis went on a rant against President Joe Biden and his economic philosophy known as “Bidenomics”.

The governor also slammed the president’s son Hunter Biden and referenced the viral song Rich Men North of Richmond, which has gained quick popularity among conservatives as it bashes politicians inside the Beltway.

“Our country is in decline. This decline is not inevitable. It's a choice. We need to send Joe Biden back to his basement and reverse American decline,” Mr DeSantis said. “We must reverse Bidenomics so that middle-class families have a chance to succeed again. We cannot succeed as a country if you are working hard and you can't afford groceries, a car or a new home while Hunter Biden can make hundreds of thousands of dollars on lousy paintings, that is wrong.”

“We also cannot succeed when the Congress spends trillions and trillions of dollars – those rich men north of Richmond have put us in this situation,” he added. “And finally, we need to lower your gas prices. We're going to open up all energy production, we will be energy-dominant again in this country. I showed it could be done in the state of Florida. I pledge to you as your president, we will get the job done and I will not let you down.”

After he finished his short speech, Mr DeSantis gave a meek smile, which went viral on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, when it was shared as a zoomed-in version lasting only four seconds.

“Love smiling like a human,” Brennan Murphy wrote.

“This man is in PAIN,” Keith Edwards added.

Dave Jorgensen of The Washington Post wrote: “This is like the inverse Howard Dean ‘Yeaaaah!!!’”

During the 2004 Democratic primary, Vermont Governor Howard Dean finished a speech rousing his supporters with what has become known as the “Dean scream”.

“He’s dying inside. He hates this. He hates his life,” another X user wrote about Mr DeSantis.

“I’ve never seen a human suck more at humaning than Ron DeSantis,” Santiago Mayer of the group Voters Tomorrow wrote.

“You can’t tell me he doesn’t unzip his skin when he goes home,” one account holder said.

Similarly, another X user wrote: “I’m convinced Ron DeSantis is an alien from another planet wearing a human skin suit like in [Men In Black].”

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo wrote: “The debate was full of these awkwardnesses for DeSantis. But people think (rightly) he’s roadkill at this point so barely anyone was paying attention to his weird expressions.”