Florida Governor Ron DeSantis found himself at the center of social media attention not for his words, but for his facial expressions during Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate.
As the debate concluded, DeSantis appeared to attempt a smile following an applause line, only to either abandon the attempt or struggle to execute it smoothly.
Audiences often scrutinize not only what politicians say but also how they convey their messages—and DeSantis did not come off well.
You can see DeSantis' awkward smile in the video below.
This is the second time this week that DeSantis has come under fire for his odd habit of delayed smiling, which has provided plenty of ammunition for social media users.
DeSantis was widely mocked online after a Fox News interview he gave sparked immediate comparisons to Homelander, the unstable villain on the Prime Video series The Boys who employs a forced smile and calculated demeanor to shape public perception by proclaiming his excitement for others to meet the "real me."
DeSantis' critics couldn't help but highlight the perceived awkwardness of the situation, another blow to a politician who has been criticized for lacking social graces.
During his pre-campaign trail activities, where he was essentially campaigning without officially declaring his White House run, DeSantis faced accusations of being a "plastic" politician.
Interestingly, there appears to be a bipartisan consensus that DeSantis does not come off well when in the company of the average American voter, as noted by people who've worked with him on the campaign trail.
DeSantis has continued to face criticism amid concerns among Republican operatives about his apparent lack of social skills or personality.
According to the New York Times, the governor had to be reminded to maintain eye contact and shake hands during his visit to Iowa, further fueling the perception of a disconnect with everyday people.