Fox News’ Howard Kurtz asked Ron DeSantis to weigh in on one of the more awkward flaws in his struggling presidential campaign.
“You’ve heard this criticism for months. He’s too stiff. Oh, he’s too awkward. Oh, he doesn’t have the charisma. In retrospect, would it have been better, would it be better now, to project a warmer image?” Kurtz asked the Florida’s Republican governor Sunday on “MediaBuzz.”
“Well, I think some of that is manufactured,” DeSantis replied, pointing to his landslide reelection victory in last year’s midterms and claiming to have “very strong support.”
“Has your wife suggested, uh…” Kurtz interrupted, gesturing and then trailing off, ostensibly wondering if Casey DeSantis had chimed in on the issue.
“People that know me know that there’s a bogus narrative,” DeSantis said.
Following his sweeping November midterm victory, DeSantis was touted as a potential top GOP rival to Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Since announcing his candidacy in May, however, DeSantis’ campaign ― bogged down by repeated shakeups, muddled messaging and a reputation for awkwardness ― has failed to take off. He lags Trump by double digits in the polls.
DeSantis’ social interactions and mannerisms have often attracted mockery on social media, including his viral attempt at a smile during the first GOP primary debate, a very intense laugh in Iowa and uncomfortable-to-watch efforts to engage with voters on the campaign trail.
Last month, The New York Times obtained a leaked strategy memo containing debate advice for DeSantis that acknowledged a need for the candidate to show a more human side, suggesting that he “invoke a personal anecdote story about family, kids, Casey, showing emotion.”
Watch DeSantis’ Fox News interview below.