Sen. Rick Scott Decries 'Treasonous' Republicans for 'Trash Talking' GOP Senate Candidates

Sen. Rick Scott Decries 'Treasonous' Republicans for 'Trash Talking' GOP Senate Candidates
Rep. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) speaks onstage during the 2021 Concordia Annual Summit–Day One at the Sheraton New York in New York City on Sept. 20, 2021. (Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)
Joseph Lord

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), took a jab at "treasonous" Republicans for "trash talking" GOP Senate candidates.

The statement seemed to be in part a response to comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has suggested that "candidate quality" may prevent Republicans from retaking the majority in the upper chamber. Scott and McConnell have feuded on several occasions in the past over election strategy.

Scott wrote his scathing critique in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner.

"Unfortunately, many of the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle are now trying to stop us from winning the majority this time by trash-talking our Republican candidates," Scott said.

"It’s an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it’s treasonous to the conservative cause. Giving anonymous quotes to help the Washington Post or the New York Times write stories trashing Republicans is the same as working with the Democratic National Committee."

Asked about midterms while in his home state of Kentucky last week, McConnell said, "I think there's probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different, they're statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome."

Downplaying the party's chances is "not what leaders do," Scott wrote. "And Republicans need to be leaders that build up the team and do everything they can to get the entire team over the finish line."

Scott did not explicitly name McConnell in the op-ed, but the two lawmakers have clashed in the past over election strategy.

In February, Scott proposed an 11-point plan for Republicans to pursue if they take back the Senate in November.
Several of the proposals in the plan, including a demand that all federal legislation must "sunset" and receive a new vote after five years, drew criticism from McConnell, who said that Scott's plan did not represent the values and aspirations of the party as a whole.

McConnell Favors Some Republicans Over Others

Recently, McConnell hosted fundraisers for three Senate candidates endorsed by President Donald Trump, including Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Pennsylvania candidate Mehmet Oz, and Georgia candidate Herschel Walker. McConnell explained that despite his past squabbles with the former president, these candidates have a "good chance of winning."

Absent from McConnell's fundraising efforts were Ohio author J.D. Vance, who beat out a crowded field after earning Trump's endorsement, and Arizona's Blake Masters. Both candidates lean heavily toward Trump's brand of populism, and may have been among those McConnell had in mind when he bemoaned "candidate quality."

In his Washington Examiner piece, Scott defended each of the GOP Senate nominees individually, noting that Oz is "a world-renowned doctor," Walker is "a Heisman trophy winner and successful businessman," Vance is "a bestselling author who has shown the struggles in America from drug addiction," and Masters is "a successful tech entrepreneur," among others.

"These are just a few of our amazing candidates who will win in November," Scott wrote.

Scott also argued that despite Washington insiders' complaints with some of the Republican nominees, they all share convictions on important points.

"All our candidates are great in this regard: They all oppose inflation, recession, open borders, violent crime, and 87,000 new IRS agents brought to America by Biden and this crop of Senate Democrats," Scott said. "And I will fight for all of them."

Closing out his piece, Scott said: "Yes, I’m an optimist. And I’m a cheerleader for our candidates. And I get a lot of crap for it from the D.C. crowd who tell me I shouldn’t sound so bullish or I should do more to set expectations. I’m not playing that game because each one of our candidates presents a stark contrast to the failed agenda of Biden and the Democrats.

"Let me be clear—we will overcome the Washington naysayers and their anonymous quotes, we will beat the Democrats, and we will take control of the Senate this fall."