Watch CBS News

Scott declines to rebuke Trump's comments attacking McConnell

Scott says he's open to individual bills on disaster relief aid
Scott says he's open to individual bills on disaster relief aid 07:53

Washington — Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida declined to criticize former President Donald Trump's recent comments attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, arguing the former president was talking about the harmful effects of inflation on low-income families when he claimed McConnell has a "death wish" after supporting a short-term government funding bill.

In an interview with "Face the Nation," Scott was asked if he would rebuke the recent remarks from Trump and Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia targeting McConnell and Democrats given the level of divisiveness in the country and threats against elected officials. Scott, who is the chair of the Senate Republican's campaign arm, said political leaders should focus on how to "bring everybody together."

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

In a post to his social media platform Truth Social on Friday night, Trump criticized McConnell for voting in support of a stopgap bill to fund the federal government through mid-December, claiming the Kentucky Republican has a "death wish." Trump also made a disparaging comment about Elaine Chao, McConnell's wife who also served as Trump's secretary of transportation, writing he "must immediately seek help and advise from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!"


Asked whether he condones Trump's incendiary comment, Scott said the former president often gives other people nicknames.

"He gives people nicknames. I'm sure he has a nickname for me," the Florida Republican said. "So you can ask him what he means by his nicknames, what I want to make sure is what I can do. I can try my best to bring people together, and I'm going to try to bring people together."

Scott also declined to directly address comments made by Greene during a rally with Trump in Michigan on Saturday. The congresswoman claimed Democrats "want Republicans dead, and they have already started the killings."

The Florida senator said he did not see Greene's comments. He then tried to turn the conversation toward remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris regarding the need for equity in the distribution of aid to those impacted by Hurricane Ian.

"I think what we got to do is we got to bring everybody together. I'd also say that vice versa, Harris said yesterday — or the day before yesterday — that, you know if you if you have a different skin color, you're going to get relief," Scott said.

He added later: "But it's also not helpful what the vice president says when she when she thinks that FEMA is going to treat people differently based on their skin color."

Harris said during the Democratic National Committee's Women's Leadership Forum on that the Biden administration has to provide resources "based on equity."

"It is our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues that are not of their own making," she said. "We have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place."

Scott, though, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers assistance to those affected, "has to be colorblind." 

"FEMA has to provide support to everybody," he said.

In a separate interview on "Face the Nation," FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said she is focused on removing barriers to accessing the agency's programs for all who need relief in the wake of natural disasters.

"These people that need our help the most are going to be able to access the help that we offer. I know that the vice President and the president, they share the same values," she said. "And again, I was on the ground Friday and Saturday, and I committed to the governor then that we are going to provide assistance to all Floridians because we know that there are people that are just completely devastated from the storm. We are going to be there to support everybody that needs help."

Criswell said FEMA's programs support "everybody."

"I believe some of the things the vice president was talking about are the long-term recovery and rebuilding these communities to be able to withstand disasters, so they can have less impact," she continued. "We're going to support all communities. I committed that to the governor, I commit to you right here that all Floridians are going to be able to get the help that is available to them through our programs."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.