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Transcript: Sen. Rick Scott on

The following is a transcript of an interview with GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida that aired Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”


MARGARET BRENNAN: And we go now to Capitol Hill and Florida Senator Rick Scott who is in between votes on the Senate floor. He’s also the head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee working to retake control of the Senate. Senator Scott, good morning. I know you have been up all night. So appreciate you joining this morning.

SENATOR RICK SCOTT: I hope I’m coherent. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I- you know, no matter what it does not look like there is any way to stop what is expected to be a very big win here for Democrats. And I know you’re opposed to it, but I want to press you on that because isn’t expanding Medicare access good for a state like yours, which has more residents reliant on the Affordable Care Act than any other state, and Republicans like reducing the deficit. The CBO says this will reduce it by $100 billion over the next decade. Isn’t there some good stuff in here for you, too?

SEN. SCOTT: So, Margaret, here’s the way I look at it. Right now, this bill actually ought to be called the war on seniors act. I mean, this is a war on Medicare. If you look at this. This is a $280 billion cut in Medicare. So, what’s going to happen is Medicare is gonna get caught and there’s gonna be seniors that don’t get life-saving drugs because the– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: –reducing Medicare cost is not the same as benefits though, you- you know that.

SEN. SCOTT: Margaret, it’s $280 billion that would have been spent. It was anticipated to be spent. It’s not going to be spent now. And the drug companies that would be doing more research are not going to be able to spend the money on research. There will be life-saving drugs that seniors will not get. On top of that, I mean, they’re going to raise taxes by over $700 billion. And let’s remember, companies don’t end up paying the taxes. Shareholders pay the taxes, lower income for the employees paid the taxes, less investment pays the taxes. So, this $700 billion is actually going to hurt the economy. And then while gas prices are $2 more than they were when Joe Biden took office, there’s an excise tax on gas. So why would you- you know, we’re in a recession. Why would you be increasing the cost of government? We’re increasing taxes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget called your claim there, that you just reiterated in terms of Medicare spending, completely misleading. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that just about 1% of new drugs would be affected by the changes there on drug development. So how do you respond to that?

SEN. SCOTT: Margaret, 1 percent. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. If your grandmother is not 1% important, if there’s if- if it impacts- impacts a life-saving drug that we could do now, we shouldn’t be- we shouldn’t be cutting Medicare like this. I don’t believe it and by the way, we shouldn’t be raising taxes ever but especially in a recession. And why would we be raising the taxes on gas right now when it’s $2 above what it was when Joe Biden took office. This is going to continue to drive us into a further- a bigger recession than we are. Look at where we are right now. Labor participation rate’s low, wages not saying with inflation, two-quarters of negative GDP. I mean- we- this is- Joe Biden has pushed us and these plans are pushing us into a recession. So, I think we’ve got to- we got to stop raising taxes. We got to make it easier for businesses to build their businesses, compete and we’ll get more jobs.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you know, we just had that stellar July jobs number, but we’re gonna dig into the specifics of that ahead with economist Mary Daly. Let me talk to you about the politics of all of this. Republicans had been hoping to ride the high inflation we are at and it is historic high, and President Biden’s low approval ratings to a win in November. But the President and Democrats just had a really good streak here. Gas prices are down. You have this massive spending bill going through. These are a lot of big wins for Democrats. The President just authorized that strike to take out the leader of al-Qaeda. Isn’t this going to get harder for Republicans to get the edge that you are trying to manufacture here? 

SEN. SCOTT: Well, you know, that sounds good, right? But that’s- that’s White House talking points. But let’s think about this, 72% of Americans believe we’re headed in the wrong track. Biden’s numbers are in the tank. And if you look at all the Democrats- all the Democrats running, and they have to- basically they’re a surrogate for Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer. I mean, they have to defend inflation, high gas prices, you know, the Afghan withdrawal, an open border, Critical Race Theory, defund the police, that’s what they have to defend because that’s what the- that’s what-, that’s what Biden is known for, and that’s what that’s basically what Democrats are known for. Now, it’s going to be- look it’s an election year. It’s going to be a hard year. We have 21 Republicans up, only 14 Democrats. The Democrats are outracing us, but we have good candidates. And, I believe Joe Biden is going to be our key here.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said it’ll be a hard year. I want to play for you what Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox last week. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: I think it’s gonna be a very tight- we have a 50/50 shot, and now we have a 50/50 nation. And I think when this Senate race smoke clears, we’re likely to have a very, very close Senate still, with either us up slightly or the Democrats up slightly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARGARET BRENNAN: If things are so bad, then why is it going to be so tight for Republicans?

SEN. SCOTT: Well, first of all, we have- we have very good candidates. I mean, the Democrats are raising good money. So we’ve got to be able to get our message out, so you know, we have to raise our money. We have to work- work hard, you know, we went through a lot of primaries, so- but I believe we’re gonna I believe we’re gonna win but it’s gonna be- it’s gonna be hard. We got to raise your money, we got to work really hard for candidates- have to work really hard. Everybody is gonna to help our candidates, but I’m optimistic. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that you do agree it’s going to be tight that Republicans have at best a slight edge.

SEN. SCOTT: I’m very optimistic. I would- I- but I’m- I’m realistic that you know, you have to raise your money. Democrats. are raising good money. Joe Biden is our key here. And by the way, this bill is not going to help Democrats. It’s going to help Republicans. Raising taxes $700 billion, cutting Medicare $280 billion, raising gas taxes, I having 87,000 more IRS agents. Do you know how much- how happy people are to have more IRS agents out there? I mean, this is not- this is not going to be popular around the country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In a local radio interview in July, you talked a lot about your business as an executive and you said, “we should start electing people that we would hire.” In Georgia, Herschel Walker, Republican Senate candidate has lied about the number of children he has, about his business dealings. His ex-wife said he held a gun to her head and said, ‘I’m going to blow your effing brains out.’ In Arizona, the candidate Blake Master called the Unabomber an underrated thinker. He said that al Qaeda doesn’t actually pose substantial threat to Americans. I mean, I’ve got a list of candidates here who’ve had some and said some pretty troubling things. Would you hire these people to work for you?

SEN. SCOTT: Well, you’d go through each person and- but I’m not the one doing it. It’s the voters of those states who are doing it. The voters of those states are going to make a choice. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re trying to help Senate Republicans and lead them to victory. These are your candidates.

SEN. SCOTT: So, you know Margaret, as you remember, the voters in Arizona choose who they’re gonna, they’re gonna vote and what they’re gonna choose, they’re gonna choose between Blake Master and Mr. Kelly. Mark Kelly has voted to keep the border open. He has never voted for border security. He’s voted for the tax increases. He’s voted for cutting Medicare. You know, he’s- he’s voted with Chuck Schumer, and with Joe Biden basically 100% of time. Warnock has the same problem, and this election is going to be about Joe Biden. And so, this election is going to be about all the bad things that have happened- this- the fact that we’re going into recession, the fact that, you know, inflation is 9%, the fact that gas prices are up $2. All these things, that’s what people are looking at. There- there–

MARGARET BRENNAN: –These are- these are your Senate Republican candidates. These are your candidates. Would you hire them?

SEN. SCOTT: And the voters of these states, the voters of these states are going to decide if they’re going to hire. Now I get to vote- I get to vote in Florida and that’s how I think about it. But the voters in those states would choose in those states who they want. It’s a choice between two people. But to there-look- all the Democratic nominees are, President Biden clones–

MARGARET BRENNAN: –Yeah.–

SEN. SCOTT: –Oh, and by the way, they will–

(CROSSTALK)

MARGARET BRENNAN: But if you are, I mean, you would acknowledge. You would acknowledge that if somebody went in for an interview for a private corporation, these things would come up as red flags to HR. So, it’s just–

SEN. SCOTT: Biden is not campaigning with anybody because he is- he is- he’s toxic. That’s how the voters think. That’s why they say 72% of Americans say the economy is on the wrong track. When that happens, people will say, I’m going to take a serious look at somebody else. And our candidates have to go tell them what they’re going to do and we’re going to make sure that everybody knows exactly who are- who the Democrats are. That’s what- that’s what’s gonna happen all across the country and we’re gonna have races, and we’ll see what happens.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you advising all of your candidates in these races to accept the outcome of their elections since so many of them are questioning still the outcome of the 2020 race? 

SEN. SCOTT: Well, Margaret’s, remember, that’s exactly what happened to me with Bill Nelson and Mark Elias. They didn’t accept the outcome of the election, and they tried to illegally cast- count ballots after election day after I won by 57,000 votes. So, election security is very important to me. And I want to make sure we make sure- make sure we do everything we can to make sure people know that the election is fair. We’re already putting together teams, which I had to do in Florida in ’18, teams of lawyers and volunteers to make sure these elections are fair. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you accept the elections are- you know, that the integrity of these races that all your candidates are in or you’re only going to have a problem with them if they lose?

SEN. SCOTT: Well, I’m- I- I want free and fair elections, so I’m going to work my- work hard to make sure these elections are fair because everybody gets to decide at the time. So, I’m still frustrated with what happened to my race. We had- we spent millions of dollars to make sure we won and we won election night and they tried to count illegal ballots after election night and that’s wrong.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very quickly, before I let you go, do you think that the US military should be deployed to defend Taiwan if Taiwan makes- China makes a move on it?

SEN. SCOTT: I think we’ve got to be very clear that we will defend Taiwan. We’ve got to be very clear exactly what’s going to happen to China, with exactly what sanctions are- is going to happen to China if they invade Taiwan. I think all American businesses need to understand that their risk right now if they’re doing business there. And I think every American whenever they see a box that says, ‘Made in China,’ they ought to send it back to whoever sent it to them and say I’ll never buy another product made in China.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, there’s a whole story about inflation there, Senator, but that’s for another day. We got to leave it there. Thank you for your time, and I’ll let you get back to work there. Face the Nation will be back in a minute. Stay with us.


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