Oct 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Rick Scott won’t rebuke Trump’s “death wish” post about McConnell

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Sunday declined several times to condemn former President Trump's social media post suggesting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) had a "death wish" and using a racist name to describe his former Cabinet Secretary Elaine Chao.

Driving the news: In a Truth Social post on Friday, the 45th president said the Senate GOP leader has a "death wish" because he supported "Democrat sponsored Bills."

  • Trump also referred to Chao, who is married to McConnell, as the "China loving wife, Coco Chow."
  • Chao — born in Taiwan — previously served in Trump's Cabinet as the secretary of Transportation, but resigned from her post after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The big picture: In the exchange, CBS' "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan pressed Scott, who chairs the Senate GOP's campaign arm, several times to condemn Trump's racist and incendiary post, and to acknowledge that Democrats have not begun killing Republicans.

  • "I didn't see what she said," Scott said of "the killings" comment, which came during a rally for Trump on Saturday night when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told attendees that, "Democrats want Republicans dead. They've already started the killings," Business Insider reported.

Details: "What I quoted you is a phrase saying McConnell has a death wish. He said racist things about Elaine Chao. And then, 'they have already started the killings.' I mean, that's not a policy dispute, Senator, the language is what I'm talking about. Isn't that dangerous?" Brennan asked.

  • "I think we all have to figure out how do we start bringing people together and have a common goal to give every American the opportunity to get a great job, their kids to have an education, they believe they can be anything and make sure everybody lives in a safe community. That's what I do every day. And I've tried to bring people together to do that," Scott replied.

"And you would agree that that language doesn't bring people together?" Brennan pressed Scott.

  • "I believe what the President Trump was talking about is the fact that we can't keep spending money. We are — We're going to hurt our poorest families the most with this reckless, Democrat spending and we cannot, we got to stop it. We can't cave into their spending," Scott said.

"Okay. That's not what the former president said. And Coco Chow was the phrase he used to refer to a former Cabinet Secretary Elaine Chao," the host told the senator.

  • "He look — he likes for, you know, he gives people nicknames. I'm sure he has a nickname for me. Alright. So you can ask him what he means by his nicknames. What I — what I want to make sure I hit what I can do. I can try my best to bring people together and I'm gonna try to bring people together," Scott responded.
  • Scott sought to deflect the questions to discussions of inflation and spending, and toward recent comments by Vice President Kamala Harris about equity in FEMA aid distribution.

Scott was also asked to address the Trump and MTG comments during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

  • "I can never talk about — respond to why anybody else says what they say," Scott said.
  • "It's never, ever OK to be a racist," he eventually answered when pressed further by host Dana Bash.

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