TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was pressed to address widespread social media speculation about his footwear during a recent podcast appearance.
On Monday’s episode of his PBD podcast, businessman Patrick Bet-David decried DeSantis’ “marketing team” and asked the governor if he was aware of how his critics were “trying to troll” him “in the marketplace.”
The “trolling” in question is the insistence that DeSantis is wearing inserts in his cowboy boots to make him appear taller.
Bet-David showed a viral TikTok video with over 1.2 million likes, with on-screen text stating, “tell me he’s not wearing hidden heels.” The creator of the video drew over DeSantis’ leg and foot in the image, attempting to show where they believe his feet would naturally fit inside the boots if they did not supposedly have lifts in them.
“I haven’t seen that,” DeSantis said, claiming his team hasn’t shown him the viral clip.
“What they’re trying to say is, in your boots, you have heels,” Bet-David said.
DeSantis said the black boots, which he can be spotted wearing at most campaign appearances, are “standard, off-the-rack Lucchese” boots. Bet-David then pressed the governor about his height, bluntly asking him how tall he is. DeSantis said he is 5’11”.
When asked why he isn’t spotted wearing tennis shoes or dress shoes, DeSantis said he wears tennis shoes while exercising.
Bet-David offered him a gift of Ferragamos shoes, but the visibly uncomfortable Florida governor declined, saying, “I don’t accept gifts.” DeSantis then attempted to change the topic of conversation with a clunky baseball metaphor.
Speculation about DeSantis’ height – and the alleged height-altering footwear – has even been parroted by his GOP primary opponent, former President Donald Trump. Politico recently interviewed three boot-makers who believe the theory holds water.
Evolutionary psychology could point to why DeSantis may be trying to exaggerate his height in order to measure up to Trump, who claims to be 6’3″. A 2011 analysis published in Social Science Quarterly, titled “Caveman Politics,” found that people tend to believe men with greater physical stature make better leaders.