Donald Trump’s campaign wants voters to see the softer side of the former president.
With Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, known more for the message discipline than the human touch, rising in most polls, the Trump campaign is aiming to distinguish the former president from the not-yet-declared candidate presumed to be his chief GOP rival, with a more unscripted approach that aims to emphasize his relatability, The Washington Post reports.
According to The Post’s reporting, “Trump is leaning into his freewheeling style in no small measure, according to advisers, to draw a contrast with his potential chief rival for the Republican nomination: Ron DeSantis.”
In a likely campaign between candidates whose differences center more around style than substance, the Trump campaign believes emphasizing the former president’s qualities people like could be a winning strategy.
“President Trump has been crisscrossing from state-to-state meeting with everyday Americans and engaging with them on a personal level,” Trump spokesman Steve Cheung said in a statement obtained by The Post.
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And in an apparent swipe at the less personable DeSantis, Cheung said: “Contrast that with how others act like robots and treat voters simply as numbers.”
It is an effort to hammer away at a perceived DeSantis weakness.
The Post reports that “Several people who have worked with (DeSantis) say he has struggled to make small talk with donors and activists in the past, though interviews with voters and activists in several states indicate he is trying harder — and is having some success in recent weeks connecting with voters. In Iowa last week, he held babies after an event, a longtime campaign trail convention.”
DeSantis’ demonstrated ability to stick to the script has made him an attractive potential candidate to many Republican voters for whom Trump’s propensity for bombast has worn thin.
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“I like that he’s an adult, that he’s not a child,” David Marlon, a 58-year-old DeSantis supporter told The Post.
Marlon said “has been proven right on a lot of the things,” but he prefers the Florida governor because he “will be less likely to say childish, inflammatory things.”
“He was like a regular guy,” Steve Telischak, a McDonald’s franchise owner, told The Post he prefers Trump’s relatability.
“He was like a regular guy,” Telischak said. “He knew what was going on.”
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