Ron DeSantis’ uneasy response to the falling polls has led critics to speculate that he is “extremely shocked” by the prospect of the drop-off in running against former President Donald Trump.
The Florida governor has not yet announced a presidential candidate, but his recent travels and continued national and international presence have only fueled speculation that he plans to run for president in 2024.
Trump’s growing lead appears to be unnerving DeSantis.
When asked about an NBC News poll released Sunday showing that DeSantis 15 was behind Trump, the Florida governor seemed visibly taken aback.
The exchange with reporters in Tokyo, Japan on Monday has been viewed 7.7 million times in just one clip posted to Twitter shortly after they took place.
One Twitter user commented on the clip, “Yes, this video is real. Ron DeSantis is just weird.”
Body language expert Judi James analyzed DeSantis’ reaction and explains for DailyMail.com what might be going through the governor’s mind as he processes his new position in the ever-changing GOP primary field.
Body language expert Judi James reveals that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had a “desire to look pleasant and even amused” during his highly publicized answer to a question about his plummeting polls. She told DailyMail.com that his repeated head circles may be motivated by a desire to reject, in the same way we’ll turn our heads from side to side like a baby rejecting food.
“DeSantis’ body language at this brief moment suggests a surge of conflicting emotions and a desire to present a sense of bravado to refute the question,” James explains of a breakdown of his answer.
A reporter asked DeSantis during a brief interview with the press in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, “Governor, polls show you are trailing Trump. Any idea about that?’
During the question, DeSantis, standing next to his wife and Florida’s first lady Casey, remained quiet with a neutral look, almost frowning as he processed what the reporter was asking.
“The contrast between his initial state and the one he chooses in the face of demand is stark,” James notes.
She continued, “As he listens to the question, he puts on a mouth clamp and a cold, hard-looking eye expression. With two microlifts of the chin, the message seems to be about power and dominance.’
His eyes drop to the bottom left to absorb the question, and with the eyes still in reflection mode, he appears to give answers that may be contradictory. There is a sudden desire to look pleasant, even amused, as his eyebrows rise and he puts on a sympathetic smile. Added to some micro-fetching of his torso, the effect seems to be one of bravado.’
A video of DeSantis who seemed jittery during a question about his falling polls has been viewed 7.7 million times in just one clip shared on Twitter
DeSantis showed up in Tokyo with his wife Casey when the awkward exchange happened
After the question was asked, DeSantis quickly changed his facial expression to a more alert state and replied, “I’m not a candidate, so we’ll see if and when that changes.”
Throughout the first part of the sentence, DeSantis nodded his head in circles with his eyes wider than usual. He looked off to the side as he completed his short answer and smiled before walking off with his wife.
James says his wobbly head can be compared to the way a baby rejects food with body language.
His head begins to wobble, which in turn becomes two or three round shapes in the air. This looks like a mix of emotions working at the same time,” details James. “A neck flick can be performed to indicate aggressive arousal when threatened or attacked.”
“The circles may be motivated by a desire to reject, in the same way we will turn our heads from side to side when a baby rejects food.”
“His last smile seems exaggerated as he already seems to be turning to leave.”
James suggests that DeSantis also took his cues from his wife, who was by his side the entire time he stopped to talk to the media.
“Maybe he wants to take cues from his wife, who stands next to him with a stormy smile as his emotions seem to go through a strange form of leakage,” the body language expert concluded.
Trump has begun targeting DeSantis when he began creeping up on him in the polls earlier this year, but is now predicting that the governor may not even run due to the rapid turnaround in poll results.
The recent indictment of Manhattan led Republicans to rally behind the former president and strengthened his position.
An NBC News poll released Sunday showed Trump ahead of DeSantis by 15 points, and a follow-up Fox News poll released Wednesday resulted in Trump leading DeSantis by an impressive 32 percent.
No other candidate has been able to earn double-digit support in national surveys to date.