Ron DeSantis Dismisses Trump Supporters as ‘Listless Vessels’: ‘His Basket of Deplorables Moment’

DeSantis drops
AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is coming under fire for dismissing supporters of former President Donald Trump as “listless vessels,” sparking frustration among critics, some who have deemed the moment “his ‘Basket of Deplorables’ moment.”

DeSantis made the remark in an interview with the Florida Standard, lamenting the label “RINO” given to him and others by many Trump supporters, who view him as a traitor for jumping into the presidential race prematurely.

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“We have a strand in our party that views supporting Trump as whether you are a RINO or not. And so you could be the most conservative person since sliced bread. Unless you’re kissing his rear end, they will somehow call you a RINO,” DeSantis said. “Ultimately, a movement can’t be about the personality of one individual.”

He then targeted Trump supporters directly, telling the outlet, “Because if you’re not rooted in principle, if all we are is listless vessels that are just supposed to follow, whatever happens, to come down the pike on Truth Social every morning, that’s not going to be a durable movement.”

The comment, while perhaps as not as direct as Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” remark, triggered similar reactions.

“Bold move for Ronda Santis to follow the Crooked Hillary Clinton strategy and begin attacking Trump supporters,” Donald Trump Jr. reacted, addressing the criticism head-on.

“Trump supporters aren’t ‘listless vessels,’ they just know a globalist fraud when they see one. That’s why your campaign is dying and @realDonaldTrump is surging!!!!” he exclaimed.

“I don’t know why anyone else the President would put down half of the electorate and identify them, call them listless vessels because they support the former president,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said in reaction to DeSantis’s remark, noting that the debate Wednesday will be “very interesting.”

“Why Ron DeSantis would do that while his numbers are tanking is really beyond me,” she added, noting that it is one of the reasons others, such as Vivek Ramaswamy, are on the rise.

“To Hillary Clinton, Trump supporters are ‘deplorables.’ To Ron DeSantis, they are ‘listless vessels.’ The truth is, Trump supporters are patriots,” MAGA, Inc. spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in a statement. “DeSantis must immediately apologize for his disgraceful insult.”

DeSantis campaign press secretary Bryan Griffin responded to the critiques on social media, defending it and asserting that Trump and D.C. insiders, bizarrely, feel Trump is “entitled to your vote.”

“The dishonest media refuses to report the facts — Donald Trump and some congressional endorsers are ‘listless vessels.’ Why? Because Trump and DC insiders feel he is entitled to your vote. @RonDeSantis believes your trust should be earned and has the vision, plan, and record to beat Joe Biden and reverse the decline of our country,” he wrote.

“That’s why Ron DeSantis will be showing up on Wednesday night to debate, and Donald Trump will not,” he added.

Despite that, a leaked debate strategy unearthed by the New York Times actually suggested that DeSantis should defend Trump and “hammer” Ramaswamy, who has passed him for second place in several polls as of late.

The latest Real Clear Politics poll shows Trump up 41 points over DeSantis.


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