Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Sparks Controversy with Comments on Trump Supporters: A Comparison to Hillary Clinton’s ‘Basket of Deplorables’

In a recent interview with The Florida Standard, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made controversial comments referring to supporters of former President Donald Trump as “listless vessels.”[0] This comment has sparked a heated debate within the Republican Party and drawn comparisons to Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” remark during the 2016 election.

DeSantis argued that a political movement cannot be solely based on the personality of one individual, emphasizing the need for a durable movement rooted in principles and focused on achieving goals for the American people.[1] He expressed concern that blindly following whatever is posted on Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, would not lead to a sustainable movement.

However, these statements quickly drew criticism from Trump supporters and campaign surrogates, who demanded an apology from DeSantis. They argued that Trump supporters are patriots and should not be referred to as “listless vessels.”[0] Karoline Leavitt, a spokesperson for MAGA, Inc., stated that DeSantis’s insult was disgraceful and called for an immediate apology.

Trump press secretary Bryan Griffin attempted to clarify DeSantis’s comments, stating that they were not directed at Trump supporters but rather at allies in Congress who he believes have become complacent and entitled to the support of the American people.[0] Griffin argued that DeSantis believes trust should be earned, and he has the vision, plan, and record to beat Joe Biden and reverse the decline of the country.[0]

The reference to Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” remark is significant in this context.[2] Clinton’s comment during the 2016 election, where she characterized Trump supporters as motivated by “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” feelings, received significant backlash. She later walked back those comments, clarifying that she was referring to Trump’s campaign rhetoric rather than his supporters.[3]

The comparison to Clinton’s remark highlights the sensitivity surrounding the characterization of political supporters and the potential impact it can have on public perception. Trump supporters quickly seized on DeSantis’s comment and drew parallels to Clinton’s critique, further fueling the controversy.[4]

The controversy surrounding DeSantis’s comments comes at a crucial time as the 2024 presidential race begins to take shape.[5] Speculation about potential candidates for the presidency is already underway, and supporters of different candidates are vying for attention and support. DeSantis, who has been gaining ground in recent weeks, is attempting to navigate the delicate balance of opposing Trump while not alienating his supporters, who hold significant influence within the Republican primary electorate.[3]

As the race heats up, DeSantis may need to confront Trump in a more direct manner if he wants to remain competitive.[6] However, critics argue that DeSantis’s struggles in the presidential race were expected due to his treatment of others as governor.[2] Former GOP chairman Joe Gruters, who had a difficult relationship with DeSantis, predicted the downfall of his campaign, citing the governor’s inability to connect with people and engage in charismatic interactions.

Ultimately, the controversy surrounding DeSantis’s comments highlights the complex dynamics within the Republican Party and the challenges faced by candidates as they navigate the support of influential figures like Trump while appealing to a broader base of voters. The 2024 presidential race promises to be a fascinating and highly contested battle for the nomination, with candidates like DeSantis attempting to differentiate themselves and carve out their own path to victory.

0. “Ron DeSantis’s “Listless Vessels” Comment Roils MAGA Supporters, Sparks Feud With Vivek Ramaswamy” Vanity Fair, 20 Aug. 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/08/ron-desantis-donald-trump-listless-vessels

1. “‘Everybody Saw!’ Cuccinelli Calls Out CNN for ‘Problem’ Edit of DeSantis ‘Listless Vessels’ Clip — Live On CNN” Mediaite, 20 Aug. 2023, https://www.mediaite.com/tv/everybody-saw-cuccinelli-calls-out-cnn-for-problem-edit-of-desantis-listless-vessels-clip-live-on-cnn/

2. “‘I fully expected the downfall’: Former Florida GOP chairman says the more people meet DeSantis ‘the more they” Business Insider India, 14 Aug. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.in/politics/world/news/i-fully-expected-the-downfall-former-florida-gop-chairman-says-the-more-people-meet-desantis-the-more-they-are-not-going-to-like-him/articleshow/102730857.cms

3. “DeSantis’ ‘listless vessels’ remark causes MAGA world to lash out – POLITICO” POLITICO, 19 Aug. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/08/19/desantis-trump-listless-vessels-00111971

4. “Trump backers label DeSantis’s comments as attack on MAGA supporters” The Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/08/20/ron-desantis-trump-comments

5. “DeSantis calls MAGA supporters in Congress ‘listless vessels,’ says Trump didn’t drain swamp” New York Post , 20 Aug. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/08/20/desantis-calls-maga-supporters-in-congress-listless-vessels/

6. “Ron DeSantis Suggests That Donald Trump Shouldn’t Be Running For President” Yahoo News, 18 Aug. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/ron-desantis-suggests-donald-trump-153024907.html

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