U.S. Sen. Rick Scott addressed the ongoing reopening of the country Sunday, with the Republican Senator striking discordant notes, first arguing for compulsory masks, then saying the government should “quit telling us how to live our lives.”
Scott, who appeared on Sunday morning’s CNN State of the Union with Dana Bash, advocated for the wearing of masks in public when social distancing is not possible.
“If you’re close to anybody, you have to wear a mask,” Scott, a former two-term Governor of Florida, said. “We have to social distance, we have to wear a mask, we have to open our economy, we have to do it safely. So absolutely, you should be wearing a mask.”
“Is it fun? No, they’re hot. But we have to do it,” Scott added.
As the interview moved forward, though, the Senator moved from issuing imperatives to painting decisions in broad strokes along the lines of “trusting people to make the right decision.”
“Quit telling us how to live our lives … We don’t need people to tell us how to live our lives every day,” Scott said, striking a libertarian note arguably at odds with his record for eight years as the state’s chief executive.
Scott went on to say “people are smart … I trust the American people,” a leit motif of the latter part of his interview, as if to camouflage the initial push for mandatory masks.
The Senator’s on-again-off-again libertarian streak came through in comments about churches also, where he said “the Bill of Rights” guaranteed people the freedom to congregate for worship services.
“The Church i go to, they’re social distancing and wearing masks,” Scott said, adding that “we have the right to worship where we want to.”
While Scott allowed that many people will prefer virtual services for the time being, there are others who would prefer to do in-person services, and their rights should be respected.
The Senator also walked the tightrope on vote-by-mail issues, offering an advocacy for the process that the President has said is conducive to fraud.
“I think as long as you can do it safely, as long as you can make sure there’s no fraud, we ought to be able to do absentee ballots like we do it in Florida,” Scott told Bash.