U.S. Sen. Rick Scott will deliver the partisan goods through November 2022, as he is helming Senate campaigns. But the Republican warhorse put the politics on pause Thursday, with a soberly worded outreach to the new Secretary of Defense.
Scott wrote Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin a note that was half congratulation and half policy recommendation.
Reminding Austin of their working relationship dating back to Scott’s time as Governor, the Senator honed in on Communist China on the global sphere and base housing on the domestic front.
“Communist China is undoubtedly our greatest enemy and must be treated as such,” Scott contended.
“I was encouraged by your candor regarding the threat Communist China poses to nations around the world and urge you to take the strongest possible position to ensure the Biden Administration places accountability and strength at the top of its policy agenda,” Scott said, with the “ongoing aggression Communist China displays toward Taiwan” of central concern.
“The United States must make clear that aggression toward the peaceful, democratic nation of Taiwan will not stand, and I hope that the Biden Administration will join me in taking this important step, which sets firm expectations to hold Communist China accountable while further supporting freedom and democracy for Taiwan and its people.”
The statesmanlike approach to the China question showed a delicate touch often absent from the Senator’s rhetorical choices in the Trump era. It remains to be seen if that is a trend.
Scott also urged Austin to look into “disturbing reports of unacceptable on-base housing conditions,” saying military and dependents shouldn’t be given “unsafe housing or deal with the health impacts of mold or pests.”
These are not new concerns for Scott, who was Governor of Florida for eight years before getting elected to the Senate.
Early in his first few months in office, the Senator urged Donald Trump‘s Secretary of the Air Force to look into mold issues, specifically “unacceptable housing at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City following the devastation of Hurricane Michael, and the mold and pests reported at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.”