DeSantis and Trump Do not Share Many Similarities in Life, Model, or Coverage

DeSantis might find yourself working for president in 2024, and he is broadly considered as…

  • DeSantis might find yourself working for president in 2024, and he is broadly considered as much like Trump. 
  • However the two males have a variety of variations, they usually’ll have to sharpen them within the months forward, operatives stated.
  • They embrace upbringing, coverage positions, and the way they deal with the press and opponents. 

Loads of pundits, donors, Democrats, and even different Republicans see similarities between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

At first look, the parallels are straightforward to identify: DeSantis and Trump are each combative, have a aptitude for showmanship, and eagerly stoke the tradition wars.

In prolonged information profiles, DeSantis usually will get outlined in relation to Trump. He is “Trump with out the luggage,” “Trump with a mind,” Trump “with out the drama,” and “Trump’s Mini Me.” 

The Trumpy nicknames are popping up in focus teams, too. Gunner Ramer, political director for the anti-Trump Republican Accountability Undertaking, instructed Insider {that a} participant not too long ago described DeSantis as “Trump not on steroids.” The Democratic Nationwide Committee is enjoying up DeSantis as a Trump twin, with a latest e-mail to reporters slamming DeSantis’ “Excessive MAGA Agenda.” 

The pile on is an issue for each males ought to DeSantis be a part of Trump within the ring for the 2024 nomination contest.

In any case, why vote for “Trump’s Mini Me” when you’ll be able to have the true factor? Why vote for Trump himself when you’ll be able to have somebody youthful who might be within the White Home for eight years as a substitute of 4? Why vote for both if you happen to hated Trump’s time period in workplace? 

In a 2024 contest, it will be essential for each males to focus on their variations. One of the crucial well-known, essential guidelines for successful in politics is that candidates need to outline themselves early. They can not let anybody else — notably opponents — do it for them. 

“If we go down this path, DeSantis goes to spend a complete major displaying how he is completely different,” Sean Spicer, who was White Home press secretary for Trump, instructed Insider. 

Because it seems, taking a more in-depth take a look at each males reveals there are many methods they differ. They’ve radically completely different backgrounds, they diverge in how they deal with criticism, and have distinct methods of working and making selections. 

“DeSantis is his personal man,” Saul Anuzis, managing accomplice of Coast to Coast Methods, LLC, a political consulting agency, instructed Insider. “It’s an oversimplification to someway suggest that they are in the identical lane.”

So how, precisely, are the Republican males not interchangeable? Insider requested GOP strategists and other people near each males for his or her perception. This is what they needed to say: 

Born to wealth v. working class household

One of the crucial instantly recognizable variations between Trump and DeSantis is their backgrounds.

There’s Trump: The wealthy 76-year-old actual property tycoon who took over his father’s enterprise, rolled by means of a number of bankruptcies, and have become a actuality TV star. He used to donate to political campaigns. Just a few days after his 69th birthday, he introduced his personal. 

Trump gained the presidency as soon as earlier than happening to lose the following one with out conceding, and was impeached twice together with over incitement of the violent riot on January 6, 2021.  

Then there’s DeSantis: A 44-year-old who grew up within the small city of Dunedin, Florida, raised by a mother who was a nurse and a dad who put in Nielsen TV score bins. Baseball and good grades bought him into Yale after which Harvard Legislation.

After serving in Navy, he went into politics the place he was a US congressman that did not acquire a lot fanfare. Then the highlight of the Florida governor’s workplace turned him right into a conservative darling. 

His 2021 monetary disclosures confirmed he had virtually $319,000 within the financial institution and greater than $21,000 pupil loans. (A not-yet-disclosed ebook advance in 2022 is predicted to have vastly elevated his private wealth.)


“The distinction is obvious — an athlete, veteran, conservative that is aware of the right way to govern versus a non-ideological, transactional former president that misplaced to Joe Biden,” Scott Reed, a veteran Republican strategist and former advisor to the US Chamber of Commerce, instructed Insider. “The GOP is sick of shedding and is looking for a ahead looking-conservative.”

However Trump supporters see DeSantis’ early entrée into politics as a possible space of vulnerability. Currently, right-wing media and main donors have been siding with DeSantis, which might assist elevate Trump’s “outsider” standing and pin DeSantis as a member of the institution.  

“He is a profession politician,” Alex Bruesewitz, a Trump supporter and CEO of X Methods political consulting agency, instructed Insider of DeSantis. “And the America First motion hates profession politicians, and other people do not know that about Ron.” He predicted DeSantis, a favourite of megadonors equivalent to Citadel funding agency CEO Ken Griffin, could be “beholden” to them. 

A poor legislative efficiency by congressional Republicans might additionally have an effect on DeSantis’ probabilities whereas being out of his management, Jennifer Carroll, who was lieutenant governor underneath DeSantis predecessor GOP Gov. Rick Scott, instructed Insider. 

“Of us are gonna marvel: ‘Ought to we belief the institution anymore? As a result of we gave them an opportunity they usually did nothing,'” she stated. 

Casey DeSantis behind a lectern as Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis shake hands in front of her.

Former President Donald Trump endorsed then-candidate Ron DeSantis when he ran for governor in 2018. The backing helped DeSantis seize the GOP nomination.

Joe Raedle/Getty Photographs

Compulsion v. management 

Trump is legendary for being impulsive, saying what he thinks within the second when requested, and firing off massive selections over Twitter that despatched his aides scrambling.  

In the meantime, DeSantis is a cautious planner who turns off the combativeness at instances. As an illustration, he welcomed President Joe Biden’s assist after Hurricane Ian, and sat alongside first woman Jill Biden in the course of the one-year anniversary of the Surfside constructing collapse. 

DeSantis has the “potential to grasp moments that transcend politics,” Brian Ballard, president and founding father of the powerhouse lobbying agency Ballard Companions and a longtime fundraiser for DeSantis, instructed Insider. 

“There’s loads of time to have the standard political debates, arguments, and infighting,” he stated. “However in instances of nationwide emergency and disaster he has ruled exceptionally and in a bipartisan vogue.”

DeSantis additionally reads, research, and will get into the trivialities of laws, whereas Trump tends to be targeted extra on the large image. Nonetheless, DeSantis, like Trump, explains sophisticated insurance policies in a easy means when he is in public. 

“He is measured the place Trump shouldn’t be,” Carroll stated. “And he does perceive that you do not want to reply to every part, notably on the time that individuals need you to reply. I imagine he has an excellent communications crew that he listens to, that affords him the luxurious of doing that.”

Direct v. subliminal 

Trump started attacking DeSantis publicly simply earlier than Election Day. He nicknamed him “Ron DeSantimonious” then lashed out on the governor for being disloyal after DeSantis left open the query over whether or not he’d run for president.

For Trump’s base, his directness is an efficient factor. “What’s so nice about Trump is he is clear,” Bruesewitz stated. “He is an actual individual. He does not have these those that say, ‘Sir, you must say this presently.'”

DeSantis hasn’t instantly hit again at Trump. He as a substitute blamed the press for stirring up division. But he was additionally considered as taunting Trump not directly when he stated Republicans ought to “try the scoreboard” on Election Day — when he did properly and Republicans flopped nationally. 

On December 13, DeSantis introduced a number of anti-COVID vaccine measures, taking intention at one in all Trump’s high presidential accomplishments however one his base despises as a result of Biden administration’s shot mandates. Whereas he by no means talked about the ex-president, he made the announcement geographically near Mar-a-Lago, the oceanfront non-public membership and property the place Trump lives in Palm Seaside. 

“He is aware of the right way to not solely get issues carried out, what the folks need, however to shove it in his opponents faces particularly when its their weaknesses,” stated Sam Nunberg, who suggested Trump’s 2016 marketing campaign. 

DeSantis usually holds main bulletins at areas that carry subliminal messages. On the January 6 anniversary, he held a press convention once more in West Palm Seaside on an unrelated matter, however when Insider requested him in regards to the Capitol riot he was ready to reply, saying the press was working to “milk the assault.” His feedback made nationwide headlines. 

“A lot of what we do in politics has to do with tone and picture and the way you current your self, versus what you say,” Anuzis stated. 


Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks throughout a marketing campaign occasion at Sioux Gateway Airport on November 3, 2022 in Sioux Metropolis, Iowa. T

Stephen Maturen/Getty Photographs

Humor v. coverage 

Trump is aware of the right way to make his viewers snort, which made him relatable to the center class, Carroll stated. When he talked about his imaginative and prescient for the US, it was easy and simple to grasp. 

“Trump’s comms expertise are a number of the finest comms expertise you will ever see a serious politician ever have as a result of he is aware of the right way to converse to America,” Nunberg stated. “He is not inquisitive about being lawyerly or political.” 

Whereas there is a main swath of voters who despise Trump, he retains a loyal base that feels personally invested in him, partially due to who he’s as an individual. 

In distinction, DeSantis is extra policy-oriented, Nunberg stated. As DeSantis has gotten extra consideration, a number of information retailers have reported feedback from sources who say he is a social misfit. That is one thing Trump supporters are fast to level out. 

“He is not likable,” Bruesewitz stated. “And it will be troublesome whenever you go to those grassroots conferences and also you’re making an attempt to get folks to love you.”

Anuzis, nevertheless, stated that humor can typically backfire as a result of it might “belittle the workplace and the seriousness of the scenario.” Voters could also be in a spot in 2024 wherein they’re searching for “sanity, calmness, and energy of management,” he stated. 

DeSantis does not crack many jokes when he is at a podium. He begins on time, takes a victory lap over his accomplishments, and comes with ready remarks. When laborious questions come, he is prepared for them. 

“They’re very completely different candidates when it comes to charisma,” Nunberg stated. “You are not going to have your socks knocked off with Ron DeSantis, you are simply not. And you must settle for that.” 

However DeSantis can nonetheless form how voters see his persona. Spicer described DeSantis as a “enjoyable man,” recounting a recreation of catch, darts, and a golf cart race with the governor after a Newsmax city corridor. 

“We all know what we get with President Trump,” he stated. “You must have been dwelling underneath a rock to not know what you are going to get. DeSantis remains to be new.” 

On the media: Private v. explaining

Trump and DeSantis each know the right way to successfully use and criticize the media. 

However that is the place the comparisons on their press methods finish.

“They could have the identical 50,000-foot method, however whenever you get right down to 1,000 toes you understand there are massive variations,” Spicer stated. 

Trump bought important free air time in 2016, when cable information retailers would air his rallies in full. He criticized main information retailers as “faux information,” and when he bought to the White Home he insulted reporters viciously and personally. 

Regardless of all this, Trump sat down with mainstream retailers and even with authors who wrote books about him — irrespective of how scathing they turned out to be. And he retains doing it. 

“He is very direct in saying no matter he wished to say in regards to the media, which at instances actually turned folks off after which additionally made the media mad at him as a result of they did not really feel like he was respectful,” Carroll stated. “However that they had entry.” 

In distinction, DeSantis’ sit-down interviews are extra restricted to conservative press, although after Hurricane Ian he interviewed with CNN and native retailers. He seems usually on Fox Information, which receives exclusives of main bulletins.

This 12 months, his staff barred quite a few reporters from a fundraiser, and his staff has defined on Twitter that they will not cooperate with press they view as biased. 

But there may be a method DeSantis is accessible: When he holds press conferences he solutions questions even when they’re off subject. And his staff additionally livestreams the exchanges and posts them to social media. Which means even nationwide retailers that do not have correspondents in Florida can tune in. 

Throughout these occasions, DeSantis can typically have tense exchanges with reporters — however they’re on the substance of their query slightly than who they’re as an individual. One CBS “60 Minutes” response debunking a narrative about his COVID vaccine rollout went viral.

“When he takes on the media he is calling them out, however he does it in a means wherein slightly than personalize he says, ‘That is not true. Listed here are the info,’ and places them of their place,” Anuzis stated. 

Carroll stated she observed that DeSantis’ communications staff may also assault the media for him, together with by posting display screen pictures of press inquiries on Twitter or mocking tales.

“His communications folks are likely to do it extra so than he instantly,” Carroll stated. “So it provides him extra of a cushion in his pushback on the media, having an middleman.”

In accordance with Ramer, DeSantis’ method is working to get his title ID out. Individuals in focus teams even in different states equivalent to West Virginia convey up his title as favourite for the 2024 nomination. 

However Bruesewitz noticed a weak spot in DeSantis’ technique, which he known as “calculated” and “theater.” 

“It is all scripted,” he stated. “You may’t be scripted in a debate towards Donald Trump.”

Trump DeSantis

Then-President Donald Trump campaigns with Ron DeSantis at a rally in Pensacola, Florida, on November 3, 2018.

AP Picture/Butch Dill, File

Voting rigidity v. voting malleability

The way in which Trump and DeSantis encourage voters to forged their ballots might be essential to how they carry out in a major. 

Trump has trashed mail-in, absentee, and early voting, even in the course of the 2020 presidential election, when the COVID-19 pandemic made it more durable for voters to go away their properties. Republican political arms, nevertheless, are starting to concede that they are at an obstacle if Democratic voters have extra time and might extra simply forged their votes. 

Whereas DeSantis tightened Florida voting legal guidelines as governor, together with establishing a police unit devoted to investigating voter fraud, he has benefited from sure guidelines that make voting simpler. 

As an illustration, at marketing campaign stops throughout his 2022 reelection, DeSantis urged folks to vote early in Florida, even to take action on their means house from that very rally. 

On the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual management assembly in November, DeSantis even pushed Republicans to interact in “poll harvesting.” The governor was referring to state voting legal guidelines that permit third events to gather and ship accomplished ballots on behalf of people that cannot get to polling stations. 

In Florida, DeSantis pushed the legislature to restrict poll assortment by non-family members. However he stated on the Las Vegas-based RJC assembly that Republicans ought to attempt to profit from election legal guidelines in different states. 

“Regardless of the guidelines are, reap the benefits of it,” he stated. 

Examined v. untested

DeSantis gained a historic, 19-point victory in Florida on Election Day, all with out Trump’s assist. It was the one “purple wave” Republicans bought out of the 2022 midterms.

However whether or not DeSantis can replicate that success nationally remains to be an open query, political insiders say. 

Carroll stated that DeSantis’ Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist, wasn’t notably standout throughout his time in Congress. He additionally had been “all around the map” and “was not properly trusted” as a result of he was a Republican governor, after which an Unbiased, earlier than selecting the left, she stated. 

“If DeSantis had run towards a candidate that was likable, recognizable, or was extra credible, it might have been a distinct turnout — it might have been the identical, however we actually need to put it in context when it comes to who was working towards whom,” she stated. 

Crist, the Florida Democratic Get together, and nationwide Democratic political arms additionally did not put up a lot of a battle, Bruesewitz stated.  

“Ron has by no means been examined,” he stated. 

Ought to DeSantis enter the 2024 contest, different GOP candidates usually tend to pile onto him because the runner up to allow them to attempt to get head-to-head with first-place Trump. What is going to it appear to be when hundreds of thousands of opposition analysis and advertisements go into attacking the Florida governor? 

As for Trump, it is broadly accepted that his MAGA base is not going anyplace. Trump invokes a “deep-rooted private connection,” Nunberg stated. “It is one thing you hardly ever see.” They’ve adopted him by means of quite a few private, authorized, and political scandals, and maybe even a pending indictment. 

“He has a base that is unquestioned, that has caught with him by means of thick and skinny for the previous six years,” Ballard stated. 

Whereas just a few information retailers have described Trump as “diminished,” Ramer from the Republican Accountability Undertaking stated it was nonetheless potential for the previous president to get stronger forward of the 2024 election. He observed in focus teams that Republicans had been souring a bit on Trump in the course of the Choose Committee’s hearings about January 6, as a result of it reminded them of all the luggage that got here along with his presidency. However after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, there was a “rally-around-Trump” impact. 

Whether or not it’s DeSantis or anybody else, the ex-president is unmatched in getting away with scandals that may torpedo most individuals’s political careers. 

“He was a one-of-a-kind politician in our era,” Anuzis stated.