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Ron DeSantis Mocked Over Misleading Navy SEAL Claim During GOP Debate

After Ron DeSantis implied that he served as a Navy SEAL during the GOP debate, X users are mocking him with overblown Navy SEAL claims of their own.

Ron DeSantis
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has come under scrutiny for his comments about his military experience during the first Republican debate held in Wisconsin on Wednesday night.

The governor was questioned about his stance on compulsory military service in the United States, to which he replied:

"I think it should be voluntary, I’m someone that volunteered to serve, inspired by September 11 and I deployed to Iraq alongside U.S. Navy SEALs in places like Fallujah, Ramadi."

While DeSantis did not explicitly claim to be a member of the elite Navy SEALs, his answer was swiftly criticized on social media.

Former Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, pointed out that DeSantis had served as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps lawyer.

Kinzinger, a former Air Force Pilot, said:

“Nothing against JAGS, but quit trying to make people believe you were a navy seal. Jags go through two weeks of training vs other people,:

You can see Kinzinger's post below.

Many agreed and outlined DeSantis' actual military record.

Others were quick to mock DeSantis' overblown claim online by making a few overblown claims of their own.

In addition, DeSantis found himself at the center of social media attention 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.

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.

Polling data shows that former President Donald Trump continues to leave DeSantis in the dust despite facing almost 100 charges across four different criminal indictments.

Recent surveys, including one by CBS News and YouGov, reveal a substantial gap between DeSantis and his competitors, although some post-debate focus groups seem to indicate that DeSantis may have helped himself with his debate performance, the online mockery notwithstanding.

Whether polls will reflect such a shift in the wake of the debate remains to be seen.