Ron DeSantis was knocked back on his heels by a new allegation, and his attempts to sidestep the matter failed miserably.
The Republican presidential hopeful has for weeks sparked theories that he’s wearing lifts inside his cowboy boots to make himself appear taller. Internet users and shoe experts alike point to the bizarre fit of DeSantis’s boots and his apparent struggle to walk in them. The Florida governor’s campaign team has vehemently denied the accusations.
But DeSantis was caught flat-footed Monday during an appearance on the PBD Podcast. Host Patrick Bet-David brought up the internet’s theory and showed DeSantis some videos that internet jokesters had edited to show how they thought DeSantis was essentially standing on tiptoes in his boots.
“What are they—I don’t even—I haven’t seen that,” DeSantis said, a little too fast.
Bet-David then produced a pair of flat designer shoes, which he said he had bought for DeSantis so the governor could try them on and prove how tall he is.
“I don’t accept gifts. I can’t accept it,” DeSantis said in an awkward monotone.
If DeSantis and the 1999 Yale baseball roster are to be believed, DeSantis is 5-foot-11. It’s also understandable why he would want to appear tall at all costs. Taller candidates generally (although not always) perform better, but more importantly, DeSantis is facing off against Donald Trump. Trump loves to describe people as “little” as a form of, well, belittlement.
Unfortunately, this could be a massive missed opportunity for DeSantis. If he is shorter, he could embrace his short king status, call Trump out for body-shaming, and seek to prove that good things come in small packages. If the shoe fits, wear it, right?
Instead, whatever he’s doing is just creating an incredibly strange, clown-like effect. As menswear expert Derek Guy wrote in Politico, whether or not he has lifts in his boots, DeSantis is still wearing really terribly fitting boots. Guy spoke with three bootmaking-industry veterans, and all agreed that DeSantis’s boots are far too wide around his calves. The heels are low and the toes turn up abnormally high. The boots bulge and crease in weird places.
All of these things could be signs that DeSantis simply needs to get his feet re-measured—or that he shoved some lifts into his boots.