Many things may have prompted former President Donald Trump’s decision to flee to Florida following his election loss to Joe Biden. It could have been the sunshine, or the plentiful golf courses, or the low taxes. It also could have been the welcoming presence of one of his greatest and most reliable supporters, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who voted against Trump’s impeachment and very recently reminded the world just how faithful he is to Trump on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show.
The Florida Senator affirmed his loyalty to Trump while also using the occasion to slam the Democrats. Referring to the impeachment attempt as “unconstitutional,” he accused the Democratic Party of focusing “on the past rather than the future,” which is rather ironic given his own unconstitutional history of attempting to prevent the restoration of voting rights to reformed felons.
Scott condemned the Capitol riot that occurred Jan. 6 as “disgusting” and “horrible,” calling for the perpetrators to be prosecuted. It would seem, however, that his assessment of the situation does not extend to Trump. While admitting to being “disappointed” with Trump for not speaking out against the rioters sooner, Scott’s refusal to vote yes on Trump’s impeachment demonstrates that he—along with most of his Republican counterparts—are allied to their party’s reputation rather than the truth.
Scott even went so far as to say he never felt endangered at any point during the Capitol riot. Of course, he didn’t; Scott has relentlessly toed Trump’s line for years. He was never going to be a target when he served the same master as the terrorists destroying property and taking lives. I have to wonder, is Scott deliberately being ignorant, or is he so engulfed in Trump’s political wave that he genuinely failed to see the rioters for the danger they were?
Of course, Scott’s own role in the riots cannot be left unsaid. There is no doubt in my mind that his vote against seating the Pennsylvania electors during the Electoral College count contributed to the dangerously popular notion that the 2020 presidential election results were invalid. He is as responsible for the Capitol insurrection as Trump is, purely due to his unfettered support and inability to break with Trump. The most Scott can manage is disappointment over Trump’s choice of words, which is not nearly as strong as a stance as he should take.
Scarily enough, there may be a more time sensitive and personal reason for Scott’s refusal to condemn Trump’s involvement with the Capitol insurrection. Recently elected as the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Scott is already looking forward to the 2022 midterm elections, with a goal of flipping blue seats red. Two years after that, however, lies the 2024 presidential election, which Scott just might be eyeballing as his year to become president.
The current status of the Republican Party seems to wield an interesting yet dark fate. The few Republicans with backbones strong enough to stand up to Trump and his lackeys have been alienated from the mainstream GOP, however, being too vehement in one’s support of Trump risks alienating a large portion of voters. This predicament may be why Scott has been calling for Republican unity while also failing to make a straightforward condemnation of the riots. He is attempting to appeal to as many voters as possible, but I doubt it will be enough. His tactics are, at least to me, very transparent.
His failure to vote for impeachment may also have been a self-inflicted shot to the foot. Most importantly, his good friend Trump may reemerge from the shadows of Mar-a-Lago to reclaim his spot as the Republican presidential nominee knocking Scott out of the running.
Regardless, Scott has a long way to go, and it will surely be interesting to see how he moves forward in the next few years. Scott also may have hurt his political chances with his failure to vote for Trump’s impeachment. There is every chance his good friend Trump uses 2024 as an attempt to leave Florida and reenter Washington, D.C.
Featured image: Rick Scott in 2011. Unmodified image by MrX used under a Creative Commons license. (https://bit.ly/3bVHbsF)
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