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Sen. Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Corona Economics

Rick Scott slams Ron DeSantis: “Go solve problems. Quit blaming others.”

Unemployment failures … who’s at fault?

The blame game continues for Florida’s current and former Governors regarding failures in the state’s unemployment system, with Sen. Rick Scott disclaiming responsibility for the ongoing situation.

Scott made the comments Wednesday afternoon on the Fox Business Network, in the wake of criticisms from DeSantis, who said the CONNECT system was designed to fail, replete with “pointless roadblocks” designed to discourage claims.

The Senator’s take was that the Governor should handle his business.

“Go solve problems,” Scott advised. “Quit blaming others.”

“It’s a tough time to be Governor. Some people are leaders. Some people take responsibility. Some people solve problems. And some people blame others,” Scott said to host Charles Payne.

When asked if DeSantis was blaming him, Scott redirected.

“My experience is what you appreciate is people saying ‘You know what? I came in here. I fixed problems. I worked hard to solve the problems I committed to do.”

Whether Scott’s words silence the current Governor remains to be seen.

In an interview with Jim DeFede of CBS 4 in Miami over the weekend, Gov. Ron DeSantis again reminded Floridians that he inherited the failed CONNECT system from his predecessor.

“I think the goal was for whoever designed, it was, ‘Let’s put as many kind of pointless roadblocks along the way, so people just say, oh, the hell with it, I’m not going to do that’,” DeSantis told DeFede, before distancing himself from that philosophy.

DeSantis stopped short of blaming the former Governor personally but said the system was “definitely” built to fail.

“I’m not sure if it was his [intention], but I think definitely in terms of how it was internally constructed, you know. It was definitely done in a way to lead to the least number of claims being paid out,” the Governor told the Miami reporter.

With Florida now deep into the second year of the DeSantis administration, it remains to be seen when or how the overhaul of all systems to be “user friendly” will happen. DeSantis has touted increased payouts from the system amid a series of technical improvements during the spring and summer.

But for DeSantis, who has been dogged by falling poll numbers amid scrutiny of his handling of the coronavirus crisis, the unemployment issue has proved to be a helpful refrain to remind people that he’s not Rick Scott.

The Governor likened the CONNECT system to a “jalopy in the Daytona 500” back in May.

“The system broke and we had to make a decision how to go forward…. In fact, the system was so bad it basically needed to be redesigned,” the Governor said.

DeSantis said “when the dust settles” there would be an Inspector General investigation into the procurement process. While the dust hasn’t settled yet, DeSantis discussed the ongoing investigation with DeFede.

“From the end of the third week, third, fourth week of March through most of April, you know, we were in really dire straits with that system. So I do think we should get the results of the IG. And then, if there needs to be some type of suit or some type of accountability, we absolutely need to do it. I mean, my thing is like a lot of these unemployment systems throughout the country, you know, weren’t very good, but a lot of them were like 40, 50 years old. Ours wasn’t really old. I mean, ours was really five, six years ago. And it should have been done better for that price tag to produce better results.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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