Rick Scott invokes deceased father again in vaccine mandate fight

rick scott
Scott's adopted father drove a truck. He died 15 years ago.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott on Wednesday again invoked the example of his adopted father, who died in 2006, as a cautionary anecdote against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, saying they could have cost him his truck driving job.

“And what they’re doing now with these vaccine mandates, my dad was a truck driver. I don’t know if he would have wanted to get the vaccine or not. If he had COVID, does he need to get it? A lot of people say he doesn’t need to. So then, they tell him ‘No, no, I want you to do it anyway.’ And maybe he says ‘I won’t do it,’ so he quits. Is that going to help get more groceries on the shelves?”

Scott advanced the anecdote Wednesday morning on News Talk 101 out of Panama City.

Though Orba Scott passed away well before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, his projected refusal of the vaccine is not a new trope for the Senator from Naples.

Scott made similar comments during an Oct. 19 press conference with leadership of the Republican caucus.

“My adopted father was a truck driver. He’d be in high demand today,” Scott said. “But what does the Biden Administration want to do? They want to say that he wouldn’t get to keep his job if he had any concern about taking the vaccine. So if he had any concern about taking the vaccine, he would lose his job.”

The new comments advance the Oct. 19 themes in a number of key ways.

They add the hypothetical that Scott’s dad may have had COVID-19, a disease first seen in the U.S. in early 2020. They also introduce the concept of vaccine skeptics, who “say he doesn’t need to” get inoculated. And they make Orba Scott’s refusal more direct than a simple “concern.”

Scott covered familiar ground in the Wednesday radio hit in comments opposing vaccine mandates, though he did showcase new material regarding vaccinations for K-12 students.

“And by the way, they’re telling kids that you don’t get to go to school if you don’t get the vaccine,” Scott said. “This is what goes on in communist China, not the United States of America.”

Vaccinations for other diseases, such as measles and mumps, have long been required in American public schools.

Scott has legislation to counter vaccine mandates. He joined other Republican Senators on the Prevent Unconstitutional Vaccine Mandates for Interstate Commerce Act.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage everyone who feels comfortable to get it too, but government has no business pushing mandates on the American people and our hardworking businesses,” Scott said earlier this fall.

Months of harsh rhetoric preceded that bill filing. Particularly memorable was Scott’s argument this summer against federal door-to-door vaccination outreach programs.

“Why should the government be pushing for people to put something into their bodies that they are not comfortable with? Everybody has access to the vaccine. It’s not like you don’t have access to the vaccine anywhere in the country,” he said at the time.

A.G. Gancarski

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 [email protected]



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