Sen. Scott Says He’ll Support GOP Incumbents Over Trump-Backed Challengers

February 28, 2021 Updated: February 28, 2021

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he’ll support any Republican incumbent senator against primary challengers—despite an assertion made by former President Donald Trump that he would primary some senators.

Scott, in an interview with Fox News on Feb. 28, declined to say whether the GOP is Trump’s party.

“It’s the voters’ party. It always has been the voters’ party. Let’s go back to 2010 and my primary. Every Republican I think in the country endorsed my opponent and I won. I talked to President Trump about a week ago and I told him this is my job, my job is to help Republican senators win all across the country, and he made a commitment to me to help me do that. I believe he’s going to be helpful,” he said.

Trump has suggested 2022 primary challenges against Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Republican in the upper chamber, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who voted to convict him in the impeachment trial.

“I am supporting every Republican incumbent in all the Senate races,” Scott also said. “So I believe all of our incumbents are going to win. We have some open Republican seats, open Democrat seats. … I trust in voters. I think we’re going to get great candidates come out.”

The policies of the Republican Party, Scott said, are what will help the party take back the Senate majority.

“I’m going to make sure of that in ’22, when we have our elections,” he said in the interview. “We’re going to vote on job growth, we’re going to vote on secure borders, we’re going to vote on supporting our law enforcement, school choice—that’s why we’re going to win.”

In a statement released in February that sharply criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump announced that he would seek primary challengers to face some GOP senators. Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump during the second impeachment trial.

Scott’s remark contrasts with comments made during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and in recent interviews with some figures who have suggested that the GOP would be nothing without Trump.

“If you’re reading the room and you’re intelligent, you realize that Donald Trump is still the future of the Republican Party,” Donald Trump Jr. said on Fox News.

“Those people who are being displaced by illegals, those people who are being swept aside by the Democrat Party, who has just flagrantly ignored them for decades, Donald Trump is all over that.”

Recent opinion polls suggest that Trump, after leaving office, is an extremely popular figure in the Republican Party.