Rick Scott confronts Sec. Mayorkas on Homeland Security disinformation, border efforts

'I don't know how this doesn't just devastate you.'

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott got another opportunity to push Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas during Wednesday’s meeting of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Scott pressed Mayorkas over a controversial disinformation board proposal, as well as about the porous Mexican border.

Scott, as he has in recent days, likened the Disinformation Governance Board to “George Orwell’s book 1984.”

The Senator described his time as Florida Governor, and noted that it never occurred to him to impose such a thing.

“So I was Governor, we put out information all the time. But we didn’t say we’re going to go out and tell what the truth is, say ‘trust us, don’t trust the media’, say we’ve got a disinformation, we’re going to be the ones to tell you exactly what the truth is,” Scott said, going on to weave references to the “Thought Police” in the Orwell book and the government of “Communist Cuba.”

“So tell me why you don’t just say here’s what we believe. Instead you want to create an organization to go out and tell people what the truth is,” Scott harangued.

“It’s just inaccurate,” Mayorkas responded, contending that the Disinformation Governance Board “does not have any operational authority or capability,” and that this “working group” will “ensure there are guardrails, standards and policies in place.”

Mayorkas attempted to assure Scott that the board wouldn’t infringe upon civil liberties, leading to a pointed reply from the Senator.

“I have no belief in that,” Scott said.

Scott is a co-sponsor of legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton that would block federal funds from setting up the Disinformation Governance Board, and it seemed like nothing Mayorkas said to him Wednesday changed his mind.

Scott also said people in Florida don’t “believe” Mayorkas’ assertion that the border is closed, and then said he had “no belief” that Mayorkas was trying to “enforce the law.”

“I don’t know how this doesn’t just devastate you,” Scott said, referring to the death of Sgt. Bishop Evans, a Texas National Guard member who was trying to rescue undocumented immigrants.

“Why would you suggest that the loss of this hero’s life doesn’t devastate me,” Mayorkas asked. “Do you actually suggest, Sen. Scott, that I as a human being are not devastated by the loss of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty?”

“I would suggest if you were worried about that, you’d take action to secure the border,” Scott retorted.

A second round of questioning included Scott pressing the Secretary about fentanyl coming in across the border, with Mayorkas contending that the problem isn’t just increased supply.

“We have to address demand in this country,” Mayorkas said, in response to Scott’s claim that the porous border is driving that crisis.

Scott also confronted Mayorkas, whose family came over from Cuba, about negotiations between the Joe Biden administration and the Cuban government.

“I would respectfully request that you respect my humanity, because I stand before this committee as a member of a family that fled communist Cuba,” Mayorkas said, saying DHS is not involved in discussions ongoing, and urging Scott to “understand (his) background.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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