DeSantis Clarifies 'Listless Vessels' Comment, Remains Confident Ahead of Debate

DeSantis Clarifies 'Listless Vessels' Comment, Remains Confident Ahead of Debate

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
August 21, 2023

Over the weekend, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) ruffled feathers in an interview  where he seemingly called supporters of former President Donald Trump "listless vessels." Though decried by many as unnecessarily antagonizing Republican voters, Gov. DeSantis offered further clarity in an appearance on Fox News's The Story with Martha MacCallum, remaining confident in his ability to keep his campaign going.

The intended point of the "listless vessels" comment, said Gov. DeSantis, was to say that politics and candidates should be based on principles rather than who can yell the loudest, pointing to his own America First record as Governor as proof against claims by pro-Trump detractors that he is a "RINO" (Republican In Name Only).

Examples he cited include his handling of Florida's international border, efforts to prevent the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from purchasing Florida land, education reforms such as universal school choice and pushing back against apparent leftwing indoctrination curricula and removing Florida District Attorneys who are "Soros-backed," allowing the crime rate to drop.

"Every Republican voter I have ever come in contact with, whether they are strong for Trump, lukewarm, or anything in between wants us to stand on principle when you get elected or are involved in this process. And I think one of the big problems with our party for many, many years is people saying they will do certain things. Then they do not end up following through," said Gov. DeSantis, adding, "I think what you have had with the people in Congress that I was referring to that have attacked me and tried to say somehow that I was a RINO, they are putting entertainment and personality over principle. Our voters want us to stand on principle and fight for them."

Additionally, DeSantis criticized Trump's refusal to participate in the primary debates due to his high favorability in the polls as "entitled" and that voters would not "look kindly on somebody who thinks they do not have to earn [their vote]."

As a result, he did not seem too worried about recent poll numbers widening the gap between himself and Trump after the latter's fourth indictment in Georgia, saying he would "earn" his support in Iowa before the caucus and citing an additional Iowa poll showing DeSantis having a slight lead in favorability over Trump.

Finally, when asked about the leaked debate strategy suggesting DeSantis focus his attacks on Vivek Ramaswamy, DeSantis said he was not involved in that plan and expressed confidence in his ability to stand against attacks made by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

"Bring it on. People can do what they want. I can tell you this, though: Of anyone on that stage, I am the only one whose sole purpose is running to be the 47th President of the United States and to reverse this country's decline. I am not running to be Vice President, I am not running to be in the Cabinet, and I'm not running to be a contributor on cable news. We are running to win and we are going to show people that we will get the job done," DeSantis said.

The first debate will be held in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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