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Trump encourages Rick Scott to challenge McConnell for GOP Senate leadership in Mar-a-Lago meeting

Infighting affects GOP midterm strategy
McConnell plots GOP midterm strategy as Trump's influence stokes divisions 05:33

Orlando, FL — Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly tried to recruit Florida Senator Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for the top Senate GOP leadership position.

In a private meeting held recently at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's Palm Beach resort and primary residence, the former president once again pitched Scott to be the party's leader in the Senate.

"You should run for Senate majority leader," Trump told his fellow Floridian, three sources familiar with the meeting confirmed to CBS News. 

As first reported by Politico, Scott did not decline the offer outright, but told Trump that he was focused "on winning Senate seats in November."

"My only focus is on winning," Scott said. 

Asked at CPAC on Saturday if he was ruling out a challenge against McConnel "entirely," Scott told CBS News' Robert Costa, "Yes."

A source familiar with the meeting told CBS News that "Trump hates McConnell." And while the former president has directly asked for several other Republican senators to run against McConnell for the top role in the Senate GOP caucus, he has asked Scott multiple times.

Scott told CBS News earlier this month that he would support McConnell to be the party's leader in the Senate following the midterm elections.

"I can't imagine there will be a leader besides Mitch McConnell," he said.

Aaron Navarro contributed reporting.

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