Rick Scott is set to sit down to lunch with President Trump this afternoon at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Gwen Graham says there’s no better time for him to do what he has declined to do all week — criticize the president for his remarks last weekend equating white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Public officials from coast to coast — both Democrats, and even some Republicans — have condemned Donald Trump’s outrageous remarks on the violence in Charlottesville, but there’s at least one glaring exception: Florida Governor Rick Scott, who has remained deafeningly silent,” the Democratic gubernatorial candidate said in a statement Thursday. “Silence is unacceptable in the face of a president who called white supremacists and neo-Nazis ‘very fine people’ and claimed ‘all sides’ were responsible for the violence that left three people dead.”
Scott and Trump are friends, and the governor had notably declined to address Trump’s controversial comments this week when he defended the white nationalists who demonstrated in Virginia and said they included “some very fine people.”
Trump laid some of the blame for the violence that broke out at the feet of “alt-left” counter-protesters; he also equated the Confederate General Robert E. Lee with America’s Founding Fathers. Florida Republicans like Marco Rubio, Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have called out the president directly for the comments, but Scott has remained notably silent.
“You can ask President Trump what he said,” Scott told reporters Wednesday when asked his thoughts about the president’s latest comments.
Following the first round of criticism from Trump’s initial comments on what happened in Charlottesville, Scott said Monday that, “I’m not going to parse the president’s words, but here’s what I’ll say. It’s evil. It’s horrible. I don’t believe in racism. I don’t believe in bigotry. I believe the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis they don’t belong in our society.”
Graham says it’s time for Scott to specifically call out Trump’s comments.
“I am calling on Governor Scott to immediately denounce President Trump’s remarks and confirm that white supremacists are not welcome in Florida,” she said.