U.S. Sen. Rick Scott said the rule of law must be followed, whether by so-called “sanctuary cities” or Border Patrol.
“You don’t have the right to pick and choose the laws,” Scott said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union.
Host Jake Tapper asked the Senator about a report President Donald Trump offered a pardon to Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan if he went to jail for turning away asylum seekers. McAleenan is not Trump’s choice to be the next Secretary of Homeland Security.
“I finished eight years as Governor,” Scott said. “I told everyone we would enforce all the laws whether we like them or not. If you want to change the law you have to go through the legislature.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on ABC’s This Week denied the president offered such a pardon.
But Scott said he senses the President feels irritation with Congress.
“I’m sure the President is very frustrated because, you know, we are not securing our border,” Scott said. “The Democrats are stopping this. But we have to comply with every law.”
But he stressed sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents also must adhere to statutes.
Trump on Saturday evening tweeted his administration has “the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities.”
Tapper asked Scott if he thought such a plan would be legal.
“I don’t know whether it’s legal or illegal,” Scott said. “Maybe he [Trump] is just saying this to make everybody crazy, make everybody talk about it on their shows.”
But Scott said he’s cognizant the border remains unsecured, and that must change.
Scott also promised to continue fighting for Puerto Rico and disaster recovery for Hurricane Michael. There, he hold Senate Democrats responsible for holding up aid.
The Florida Republican said he supported a hurricane aid bill from Alabama Sen, Richard Shelby.
“I’m an incrementalist,” Scott said. “I was in business. Whatever I could get done that day, get it done and then work to improve it the next day. That’s what is frustrating to me on this.
“We had a bill that should have passed and [Senate Democratic Leader] Chuck Schumer decided for political purposes to stop it.”
Tapper noted the Trump administration wanted no more money going to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria recovery. Scott said he would fight for funds anyway.
Scott also stressed the need for more action in Venezuela, and said the administration should consider deploying U.S. military to assist in delivering aid.
“We’ve got to take seriously that there’s genocide going on in Venezuela right now,” he said. “[Nicolas] Maduro is intentionally starving his citizens.
“We’ve got to really consider whether we do need military help getting this aid in just to save the starving people of Venezuela.”