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Rick Scott gives an interview in the U.S. Senate rotunda.

Federal

Rick Scott on Meet The Press: Donald Trump must keep emergency wall funding as an option

The freshman senator also said military force should remain a possibility in Venezuela.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott said Democrats aren’t negotiating in good faith with President Donald Trump about border security. While Scott doesn’t want Trump using emergency powers to build a wall, he said all options should be on the table.

“If I was sitting in his position,” Scott said, “I would go out there and say, ‘I’m going to use whatever power I have to solve the problem.'”

Scott appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press for the first time since being sworn in as a U.S. Senator.

On the show, he said ongoing negotiations with Democrats over border security put the president in a bad place.

He said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi “are not negotiating in good faith.”

Host Chuck Todd noted the president has backed away from deals in the past regarding immigrants covered under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Scott everybody shares some responsibility for the record federal government shutdown that ended in January.

But he also said his own conversations with border security officials lead him to believe no compromise can leave out funding for physical barriers at the U.S. Mexico border.

“We have to have border security. We have to take care of the DACA kids,” Scott said. “On top of that, I think we need to have a permanent solution for TPS (Temporary Protected Status).”

TPS protections cover many political refugees in the country, including many living in Florida who emigrated from Haiti, Venezuela and other oppressive regimes. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen last year extended TPS status through March 2020.

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Scott also spoke about the ongoing situation in Venezuela, following days of protests in the South American nation. Trump announced last month his administration will recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s president instead of Nicolas Maduro.

Scott was among Florida lawmakers urging that move. He said Maduro must step down as president. When asked if Trump should threaten military action in Venezuela, Scott said Maduro must know the possibility exists. But he’s optimistic Maduro will answer calls from his own people to move aside.

“Look at the number of people who protested again yesterday,” Scott said. “We are seeing the military move. That’s key right now, and the only thing propping up Maduro and the thugs that are there.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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