Mitch Perry Report Report for 3.11.16 — Why didn’t Rick Scott condemn Donald Trump’s Islam remark?


Rick Scott sought to clarify his earlier refusal to condemn Donald Trump‘s comment that “Islam hates us” Thursday afternoon.

“There are people that love this country. There’s people that don’t love this country. What we do know, and it’s no surprise, is that radical Muslims don’t like our country,” Scott told reporters before Thursday night’s GOP debate in Miami.

It wasn’t much of a cleanup over his earlier performance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” That’s when his refusal to condemn Trump’s comment prompted co-host Mika Brzezinski to mutter “wrap it” and “no, no” after Scott did what Scott does: refuse to directly answer questions.

A disgusted Brzezinski then said, “we will move on now. Thanks.” When the show returned after a break, she blasted Scott, calling his performance “weak, sniveling political wavering,” saying he was “pathetic” and that he shouldn’t be governor if he couldn’t answer the question.

Let’s go the transcript:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: So you’re a friend of Donald Trump. Will you tell Donald Trump that he should walk back his statement that Muslims, that Islam hates America, that Islam hates us? Do you think Muslims in the state of Florida hate America?

RICK SCOTT: Well, as you know, in Florida we’re the best melting pot in the world. We love everybody coming to our state. After the Paris bombings I did ask the federal government to not allow any more Syrian refugees to come in to Florida until we vetted them. I’m still concerned that the federal government’s not vetting them. But that’s what my concern is.

JOE: That could be a reasonable policy position if you wanted to debate that and we can debate that issue. I’m just asking generally, do you think that Muslims hate Americans? That Islam hates America as Donald Trump said last night? 

SCOTT: Well, I can tell you what’s going on in Florida

MIKA BRZEZINSKI No, no. That’s not the question. Stop —

JOE: No, no, no, no. I don’t want to know what’s going on in Florida.

SCOTT: We’re headed in the right direction —

JOE: I want to know what’s going on in your head, governor. We’re friends. I want you to answer the question. Do you personally think that Islam is a religion that hates America?

SCOTT: So, Joe, what I can tell you in our state is we have a lot of Muslims that live in our state —

MIKA: Wrap it. 

SCOTT: We’ve got a lot of Latin Americans living in our state. We all get along. We love people moving to our state and coming here as tourists. We’re a great melting pot. That’s what I can tell you about our state.

Florida reporters and voters are used to this lack of the governor responding to direct questions, but it’s interesting to see the how the national media reacted to obfuscation.

So why didn’t he answer?

A) He agrees with Trump, or B) he doesn’t want to offend The Donald for whatever reason (including the long shot idea that he yearns to be his V.P.

In other news …

Bernie Sanders rocked Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa last night.

• • •

Hillary Clinton spoke at Tampa’s Ybor Ritz Theater on Thursday.

• • •

HD 61 Democrat Ed Narain hopes to be elected to the state Senate.

• • •

More people trust Peyton Manning than Donald Trump to select the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice, according to a PPP survey.

• • •

Racism and discrimination were the top topics people were discussing on Facebook while watching the Democratic debate on Wednesday night.

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704