Standing with U.S. Sen. Rick Scott are, from left: Ralph Roberson, Scott, Rez Buzzett, and Grant Rish. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
| | | |

Rick Scott: ‘This country is in deep trouble’

If anyone had doubts that Florida Senator Rick Scott has the fight in him to win re-election this fall, Tuesday night’s appearance at the Fort Coombs Armory for the annual Lincoln/Reagan Day Dinner likely dispelled them.

In a fiery nearly half-hour speech, Scott, 71, rallied the troops behind a message of better border security and limited government.

“We are losing this country,” he said. “If Ronald Reagan was alive he’d say ‘What the hell have you done to my country?’ People are fed up with this; this cannot continue.

“I believe this country’s in trouble, this country’s in deep trouble and it’s our duty – we have to fight.”

At a VIP reception preceding the dinner, Scott hobnobbed with Republicans from both Franklin and neighboring counties, as Tax Collector Rick Watson and State Committeewoman Joyce Estes shepherded them forward to have their photos taken with the former governor and current senator.

In an interview at the reception, Scott replied tersely when asked about his Republican challenger Keith Gross, who has already made a campaign swing through Gulf and Franklin counties. “I never met him,” he said. “I wouldn’t run against me.”

Scott, who had the task of getting Republicans elected to the Senate during the last election cycle, said he is confident former President Trump will be able to overcome unfavorability ratings to secure a second term.

“I think he’s going to have a positive effect and here’s why,” he said. “If you look at the issues the country cares about right now, number one is the border. Biden has a horrible record; Trump’s got a great record.

“If you look at the economy, it is horrible under Biden, it was great under Trump. If you look at the next issue people care about, it’s these wars. There were no wars under Trump; we’re in two wars right now,” Scott said.

“I don’t care if you’re a Republican, an independent or a Democrat, you want the border to be secure, you want a better economy and you don’t want us at war,” he said. “This election is going to be about Biden. When people go to the polls they’re going to say ‘this guy can lead the world and this guy can close the border, and this guy can create a horrible economy, and this guy can create a good one.”

A view of the Armory during Rick Scott’s remarks [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Following a presentation of the colors by the Franklin County High School Cadet Core, and an invocation by Estes, Kristy Branch Banks, chairman of the county’s Republican Executive Committee provided an enthusiastic overview of the changes in party affiliation that have swept through the county ever since 2010, when Scott was first elected governor.

She noted that Sheriff A.J. Smith was the first elected Republican constitutional officer in modern history, and that today, it appears likely that all these countywide offices will be members of the GOP.

In his introduction, Smith offered a ringing endorsement of Scott’s response in 2017 to the Lime Rock Road fires in Eastpoint, followed by a track record of exemplary constituent services, citing two examples of local residents who got help from the senator’s office.

“I call him, and you know who fixes it? He does,” said Smith. “He’s the captain of the ship and that’s why things get done. That’s what I’m talking about, getting things done.

“We’re proud to have a senator who responds to the people of Franklin County. I’m proud of him. I’m proud he’s my friend, I’m proud he’s my senator, I support him and we’re going to reelect him.”

In his remarks, Scott spoke of his successes as governor in creating jobs, cutting regulations and lowering taxes.

“We want to live our lives. We don’t need government to dictate everything for us. Get the hell out of the way, and don’t mess things up for us,” he said. “Don’t give us crappy schools, don’t give us crappy law enforcement, don’t have a regulation that doesn’t make any sense, to make it difficult to open a business or rebuild after a hurricane.

“It just makes you mad, the stupid rules you have to comply with,” Scott said. 

The senator took aim at both leaders of the Senate, Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Mitch McConnell.

“Here’s who you should admire, people who will stick their neck out,” he said. “There are six of us in the entire Senate: Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Mike Braun and me.”

He defended his decision to oppose the recent legislation regarding the southern border.

“It was no border bill, it was an immigration bill,” he said. “The only thing we cared about was the border would be secured now. There was nothing in the bill that required the border to be secured. 

“What they (the Biden administration) want is Ukraine. They’ve already given $100 billion to Ukraine and we don’t know where it’s gone. We said we will not give a dime on Ukraine unless we get more border security,” Scott said.

He said the bill contained billions “to pay politicians’ salaries in Ukraine” and “a slush fund for humanitarian aid” that gives money to Gaza and to the Palestinian Authority, which he said then goes to Hamas.

Scott also said he has seen President Biden make little or no mention, “about 15 seconds” of the five American hostages among the Israeli hostages being held by Hamas.

“We should know their names, we should know their families,” he said. “He doesn’t give a damn.”

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.