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New York Times columnist calls DeSantis ‘meaner and more rigid without soft edges’ of Donald Trump

New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote on Saturday that Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., moving illegal immigrants from his state to Martha’s Vineyard proves that the Republican figure could actually be “meaner” and “more rigid” than former President Trump.

Several media outlets attacked DeSantis after his office revealed that he had transported 50 illegal immigrants from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard in response to the Biden administration’s failure to stop the border crisis. New York Times journalist and “1619 Project” founder Nikole Hannah-Jones herself suggested that the act denied any sense of “American exceptionalism” in the country anymore.

Bouie, among other things, attacked the move as a “dehumanizing bit of political theater” in a further effort to appeal to Trump’s base.

“With his command of conservative media and his obvious attempts to mimic the style and mannerisms of Donald Trump (right down to the big suits and frequent hand gestures), DeSantis has made himself into something of an heir apparent to the former president, should Trump decline to run in the next election,” Bouie wrote.

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However, while he described DeSantis as a “bully” who plays “high-stakes games with people’s lives for the sake of his own ego and advancement,” Bouie argued that the governor falls short of Donald Trump whom he claims has “natural charisma.”

“Well, you might say, Donald Trump is a bully, too. Yes, he is. But Donald Trump is also a lifelong celebrity with a public persona that is as much about ‘The Apprentice’ and even ‘Home Alone 2’ as it is about his political career. What’s more, Trump has the skills of a celebrity. He’s funny, he has stage presence, and he has a kind of natural charisma. He can be a bully in part because he can temper his cruelty and egoism with the performance of a clown or a showman. He can persuade an audience that he’s just kidding — that he doesn’t actually mean it,” Bouie wrote.

He added, “Ron DeSantis cannot. He may be a more competent Trump in terms of his ability to use the levers of state to amass power, but he’s also meaner and more rigid, without the soft edges and eccentricity of the actual Donald Trump.”

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Although Bouie appeared to compliment Trump for his “stage presence,” he has frequently criticized Trump and his supporters. In 2017, when Bouie previously wrote for Slate, he argued that Trump intentionally used racist rhetoric to “make white people afraid.” By May 2022, he claimed that Trump lacked “democratic legitimacy” and later praised Biden’s speech attacking “MAGA Republicans” as a threat.

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In April, fellow New York Times columnist Bret Stephens similarly argued that DeSantis is a worse person than Trump, claiming DeSantis is “as loathsome as possible.”

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