It was an exchange between Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott and CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday’s “State of the Union” in response to former President Donald Trump’s claim that Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell had a “death wish.” Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as “Coco Chow”:
Bash: You are a member of the Senate GOP leadership. Are you ok with this?
Scott: Well, look, I can never speak and answer why anyone else says what they say.
But here’s the thing – the way I’ve seen it, I think what the President is saying – is that a lot of money has been spent in the last two years. We need to make sure we don’t follow the Democrats caving. This causes incredible inflation and more and more debt.
As you know, the President likes to call people nicknames. You can ask him how his nickname came about. I’m sure he has a nickname for me.
But here’s what I do know. We have to watch how we spend our money. We have to stop this inflation. And I don’t support violence. And I hope no one – no one else condones violence.
Bash: Nicknames are one thing, but this one – this one – seems racist. is it ok
Scott: It’s never okay to be racist.
I mean, look, I think you always have to be careful how you say things when you’re in public. You want to make sure you’re inclusive. You want to make sure that, like yesterday, in the neighborhood where I was, we probably had people from 10 countries living there. And so that’s the great thing about this country.
And I, I know what I try to do, I try to make sure that everyone, everyone, especially the children, have hope and can dream, so that they can live the dream of this country. So I hope no one is racist. I hope no one says anything inappropriate.
OK, let’s break down Scott’s answer here.
1. He says he can’t respond to what someone else said. Of course, politicians respond to what other politicians say all the time.
2. Scott tries to talk about Trump’s racist remarks rather than the former president’s penchant for name-calling, trying to ignore the fact that referring to Chao, an Asian American, as “China Lover” and “Coco Chow” isn’t entirely out of the question. the nickname is an insult.
3. Called out by Bash about all the nicknames, rightfully so, Scott tries another look: Racism is wrong. What a good one!
4. Scott offers a generic comment: “I hope no one is racist” and “I hope no one says anything inappropriate.”
What Scott, the Senate Republican campaign chairman, never does is directly say that what Trump said is a) wrong b) racist. Scott sort of backtracks by saying that being a racist is not acceptable, but doesn’t specifically reference Trump.
At this point, we know why. Trump bristles at any criticism, even in the wrong light. Scott, who has his own national ambitions beyond this election, has no interest in angering the former president or his political base.
And so Scott offers this generic piffle about racism being bad and how he can’t comment on what other politicians say and do. This is a) somewhat spineless, and b) simply untrue.
What Scott’s response proves – as if we needed more proof – is that Republican politicians live in fear of getting on the wrong side of Trump, even though the former president is wrong.
“No one in my party will say that this is unacceptable. Everyone should be asked if that’s acceptable and everyone should be able to say no,” Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney. he said of Trump’s comments about Chao. “They should be asked to say that.”