Team Trump is currently on the warpath, attacking Ron DeSantis by claiming he had a “basket of deplorables” moment on Saturday when he made a comment about “listless vessels.”
The context here matters, so here’s exactly what DeSantis said that is now being cited.
“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.” pic.twitter.com/zAaxdYOGbk
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) August 19, 2023
DESANTIS: Ultimately, a movement can’t be about the personality of one individual. The movement has got to be about what are you trying to achieve on behalf of the American people, and that has to be based in principle, because if that’s 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 above commentary started when DeSantis was asked about being labeled a RINO. He explained that there are some who view Republicanism as simply a measure of support for Donald Trump. He cited Chip Roy and Thomas Massie, both diehard conservatives with sparkling records, being called RINOs as an example. His comment about the movement, transcribed above, was what he views as the counter to that mentality.
Trump’s team then put out a press release claiming that DeSantis was “attacking” Trump supporters, demanding he apologize immediately.
— MAGA War Room (@MAGAIncWarRoom) August 19, 2023
Perhaps they watched a different video than the one I posted above? Because at no point did DeSantis even mention “Trump supporters.” Instead, he first called out those who call conservatives like Chip Roy a RINO, which would include some, but not nearly all Trump supporters. He then shifted gears to the “listless vessels” comment, but importantly, he said “we” in describing who those people are.
So unless DeSantis counts himself as a Trump supporter, which I doubt, it seems clear he was talking about the broader conservative movement. Given that, is it really offensive to suggest that the conservative movement shouldn’t be dictated by the whims of one personality? Or that we should be undergirded by policies we are pursuing for the American people?
But this is politics. Candidates are going to latch onto snippets of what their opponents say and use them to push a preferred narrative. In that sense, maybe DeSantis flubbed here. On the other hand, it probably doesn’t matter at all. I don’t believe DeSantis has any shot of pulling away the types of Trump supporters who would get upset over the comment highlighted above.