'Listless Vessels' Remark Stirs Trump Team

Former president's backers liken comment to 2016 'deplorables' statement
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2023 11:00 AM CDT
'Listless Vessels' Remark Stirs Trump Team
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis greets attendees Saturday at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

He might consider Donald Trump's supporters to be low energy, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ensured that the former president's campaign staff, at least, is fully awake. "Looks like Ron DeSanctimonious just had his 'Basket of Deplorables' moment," said Trump adviser Jason Miller. The reference to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign insult followed DeSantis' assessment of conservatism's relationship with Trump and his social media posts, Politico reports. "A movement can't be about the personality of one individual," DeSantis said in an interview. "If all we are is listless vessels that's just supposed to follow, you know, whatever happens to come down the pike on Truth Social every morning, that's not going to be a durable movement."

DeSantis campaign aides said the remark, delivered in an interview with the Florida Standard, referred to Trump and his congressional supporters, not voters at large, per USA Today. GOP Rep. Nancy Mace expressed bafflement on Fox News. "I don't know why anyone running for president would put down half of the electorate and identify them and call them listless vessels because they support the former president," Mace said. Clinton references ran through the reaction from Trump's side. "To Hillary Clinton, Trump supporters are 'deplorables.' To Ron DeSantis, they are 'listless vessels,'" a MAGA Inc. spokesperson posted on X. "The truth is, Trump supporters are patriots."

The flap let a DeSantis spokesman bring up the debate for GOP presidential candidates scheduled this week in Milwaukee. The Florida governor plans to attend; the former president does not. DeSantis "believes your trust should be earned and has the vision, plan, and record to beat Joe Biden and reverse the decline of our country," the spokesman said. "That's why Ron DeSantis will be showing up on Wednesday night to debate, and Donald Trump will not." (More Ron DeSantis 2024 stories.)

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