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Democrats’ ad seeks to tie Rick Scott to Donald Trump’s Puerto Rico response

A Democratic political action committee has released a new Spanish-language TV commercial reminding Puerto Ricans of many of their disappointments in President Donald Trump‘s response to Hurricane Maria and pointing out that Florida Gov. Rick Scott has refused to criticize the federal response.

“The Trump administration’s lack of response to Hurricane Maria was woefully inadequate, and Rick Scott’s inability to acknowledge the government’s failures is proof that he does not care about the people of Puerto Rico,” Hannah Hurley, spokesperson for the Senate Majority Political Action Committee, stated in a news release about the new commercial.

Scott’s U.S. Senate campaign already has countered, with a TV commercial of its own, “Fight for You” that specifically rebuts the claims in the Senate Majority PAC ad, and which details some of Scott’s efforts, including his eight trips to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the island in September, 2017.

So what’s on the air on Spanish television now are dueling commercials about Scott’s role to help Puerto Rico, both launched Monday.

The Senate Majority PAC, which is supporting the re-election of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson,with more than $11 million in outside advertising, focuses not on Scott’s efforts, but on Trump’s response, which was widely disparaged by Puerto Ricans, a situation Trump exacerbated in September when he declared in a tweet that the estimated death toll of nearly 3,000 people was fake news promulgated by his political enemies.

The 30-second SMP commercial “Differente” features sorrowful music and black-and-white images of the growing storm, of homeless Puerto Ricans (with text declaring 70,000 families were made homeless), of grieving people (with text declaring 2,975 deaths), and of Trump throwing a roll of paper towels into a crowd during his visit to the island. It then runs footage of Scott saying, “I don’t know what I would do differently.”

The commercial ends with a picture of Nelson, and the message, “Vote for Bill Nelson.”

Scott’s counter, besides citing some of his own efforts, is the statement that “Rick Scott has confronted President Trump when he disagrees with him,” which Scott did following the president’s tweet on the death toll.

Scott’s ad also blames Nelson for the SMP ad, though legally Nelson and the Senate Majority PAC must remain completely independent.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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