TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Speaking in an interview with Noticias Telemundo in Miami, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) pushed back on some of the recent legislative priorities and proposals of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Citing his experience and former role as governor of the Sunshine State, Scott said that Florida’s current legislative agenda, promoted by the governor, was against some of what residents wanted in the state.
Scott was asked about DeSantis’ recent book release, which the governor has toured across the United States with as a “blueprint for America,” with Florida as an example for how the country should be run.
Discussing education and abortion access, Scott said DeSantis’ idea to remove in-state tuition opportunities for Dreamers, children brought to the U.S. as migrants, put them on “opposite sides” of the issue.
“We want legal immigration in this country. We want immigration, we’re an immigration state, we have people from all over, Central and South America,” Scott said. “We’re a great melting pot, where people get along and they’re part of building this great state, so I think we’ve gotta figure out how we’ve got a legal immigration system that works.”
The senator said the solution starts with a secure border, but that those coming to the U.S. to live the American dream should be able to through legal channels.
“Let’s figure out how do we have a system that works, where if you want to come here and live our dream, you don’t want to come here and turn this into a communist country, you want to come here to live our dream, you oughta be able to come here,” Scott said. “You shouldn’t be dependent on government, we want people to come here and build this country. I think it’s great, we love immigration.”
Scott passed the legislation focused on in-state tuition for Dreamers in 2014.
Turning to other legislative priorities in Florida, Scott said he supported permitless carry, but that the move to further restrict abortion in the state was something that was complicated.
“First off, it’s a tough issue for people. You have to really, you have to be compassionate to what people are going through. I think where most people are is reasonable restrictions,” Scott said. “I think probably most people are 15 weeks, with all of the exceptions. You’ve gotta have exceptions for rape, and incest, and the life of the mother. I think that’s where the population is, and I think that’s, our state legislation oughta represent that.”
Answering a question about recently filed bills to roll back protections for journalists in Florida, such as a bill aimed at changing the precedent set by New York Times v. Sullivan, which created the actual malice standard for defamation, Rick Scott said he was not familiar with the legislation proposed, but was “for the First Amendment” and believed in a “strong press.”
More broadly, Scott was asked about his views on how DeSantis was running the state.
“Here’s what I tell people, I’m a kid that grew up in public housing, I was born to a single mom, I lived the dream in this country,” Scott said. “I want that dream to be true for every kid in this state. That’s how I think about my job. That’s how I thought about my job when I was governor, and that’s how I think about my job as a U.S. Senator.”
Scott said he thought about his job as how to allow everyone to live the American dream, praising Florida’s rank as best state for education and safety. Turning to a question of presidential candidates and potential candidates, Scott said choices were being made on who you want to hire to run your life.
“When you’re going to vote for somebody, would you hire them to run your life,” Scott said. “That’s what you’re doing. What you have to do is look at all of the candidates. Whether it’s Trump, DeSantis, Nikki Haley, or any of them and say, what is their background, how did they do the job they have now, what’s my concern about the future? And if the issues with the country today, what would be best? Who would be the best.”
The senator declined to name a particular candidate he was planning to support, instead saying that more candidates were sure to announce before the primary season.