A Republican senator talked all around Donald Trump saying something racist


01:54 – Source: CNN

‘Are you okay with this?’: Bash asks Sen. Scott about Trump’s racist insult

CNN  — 

This was an exchange that happened between Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott and CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday, in the wake of former President Donald Trump saying Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell had a “death wish” and referring to former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as “Coco Chow:”

Bash: You’re a member of the Senate GOP leadership. Are you OK with this?

Scott: Well, look, I can never talk about and respond to why anybody else says what they said.

But here’s what it is – the way I looked at it is, I think what the President is saying is – there’s been a lot of money spent over the last two years. We’ve got to make sure we don’t keep caving to Democrats. This causes unbelievable inflation and causing more and more debt.

As you know, the President likes to give people nicknames. You can ask him how he came up with a nickname. I’m sure he has a nickname for me.

But here’s what I know. We got to watch how we spend our money. We got to stop this inflation. And I don’t condone violence. And I hope any – no one else condones violence.

Bash: Nicknames are one thing, but this – this is – this appears racist. Is that OK?

Scott: It’s never, ever OK to be a racist.

It’s – look, I think you always have to be careful if you’re in the public eye how you – how you say things. You want to make sure you’re inclusive. You want to make sure – like yesterday, in the neighborhood I was in, we had people probably from 10 countries that live there. And so that’s what’s great about this country.

And what I – I know what I try to do is try to make sure everybody, everybody, especially all their kids, believe they have hope and they can dream – live the dream of this country. So I hope no one is racist. I hope no one says anything that’s inappropriate.

Ok, so 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 play off Trump’s racist remark as nothing more than the former President’s penchant for giving nicknames, trying to wholly ignore the fact that referring to Chao, an Asian American, as “China loving” and “Coco Chow” isn’t a nickname, it’s a slur.

3. Called out, rightly, by Bash on the whole nickname thing, Scott tries another tack: Racism is wrong. Which, good!

4. Scott offers up a generic comment that “I hope no one is racist” and “I hope no one says anything that’s inappropriate.”

What Scott, the chair of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, never does is directly say that what Trump said is a) wrong b) racist. Scott kind of, sort of backs into it by saying that it’s not acceptable to be racist, but doesn’t make a specific reference to Trump.

By this point, we know why. Trump bristles at any criticism – even when he is clearly in the wrong. Scott, who has his own national ambitions beyond this election, has zero interest in angering either 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 politician say and do. Which is a) somewhat spineless, and b) simply untrue.

What Scott’s response does prove – as if we needed more proof – is that Republican politicians live in fear of getting on the wrong side of Trump, no matter how clearly in the wrong the former President is.

“Nobody in my party will say that’s unacceptable. Everybody ought to be asked whether or not that’s acceptable and everybody ought to be able to say no,” Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney said of Trump’s comments on Chao. “They ought to be required to say that.”