Transcript: Senator Rick Scott on “Face the Nation,” October 2, 2022

The following is a transcript of an interview with Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida that aired on Sunday, October 2, 2022.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re going now to Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, who joins us from Naples. Good morning to you, Senator.

SEN. RICK SCOTT: Good morning, it’s very difficult down here, it’s an incredible loss of life. And we still have people hoping they are alive and still trying to save. So please pray for each of them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We know and we know that when you were governor of Florida, there were four hurricanes on your watch. Governor DeSantis said what is happening now is biblical? How would you describe the impact?

SEN. SCOTT: Well, the storm surge was incredible, you know, the worst, the worst storm surge that we had with Irma was down in the Keys. And simply, it was nine feet. It just sucks everything in and out of a single story house. And then we had, you know, Mexico Beach with Michael, my senior year. But, you know, in Lee County, they’re talking, they might have had 18 feet of storm surge on Sanibel. And you’re looking at, you know, 12-15 feet from the storm surge of Fort Myers Beach and Pine Island, I mean it’s hard to survive, you’ve got to be pretty, you’ve got to get up high enough and your structure has to survive. We, unfortunately, some of them are of older construction. And so we lost many, many, many buildings.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President said he may need more money from Congress to help with the response. And I know you and Senator Rubio have talked about needing more emergency aid. If you are calling for an emergency, is there a co-pay — compensation?

SEN. SCOTT: Well, I’ve supported disaster relief. And look, whatever you do, you’d like to get paid. But you know, we’re committed, we’ve made commitments, and we’re going to help our families, our businesses, our state and local governments, and as a federal government, we’ve got to do our job. Now. We have to be careful how we spend our money. So always try to understand how you pay for things. But I’m very supportive of FEMA. My experience with FEMA and being governor is that they did their job. He was a good partner. It is not a leading company. There was a Support Service, and they operated that way when I was governor.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the disaster modeling companies have, you know, damage scale here from 30 billion to 100 billion. How much money do you think you should go ask Congress for?

SEN. SCOTT: Hopefully we’ll find out, most things are covered by insurance. That’s what you hope for. Now Florida has had a problem in recent years with the property insurance market. So hopefully the insurance companies will be able to cover a lot of it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But no flooding?

SEN. SCOTT: But you’ll see the way this worked while I was governor. Yes, absolutely. Correctly. And so that’s one of the issues. Florida has been a major contributor to the flooding. Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t have flood insurance, either because they didn’t know they needed to buy flood insurance or because it was too expensive. So we need to have insurance products that people can afford. And that’s what they have to try to continue to build the private flood insurance market. And I’ve been governor to try to make sure that people can get flood insurance and be able to afford flood insurance. Because you’re right, a lot of it isn’t covered. If it is not, it is not covered under the normal policy. Covered by a flood insurance policy. And I was in Kissimmee yesterday, and there was some flooding up there. And they weren’t in a flood plain, they didn’t tell anybody to get flood insurance, and they had probably a foot of water in their houses, and they were completely shocked.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I mean, it’s the bottom line here, though, senator, that some of the communities were hit so hard that you have to take a second look here, I mean, maybe some of them shouldn’t be rebuilt, because of the level of danger from extreme weather phenomenon.

SEN. SCOTT: What I think you have to look at, look if you build in places, I think those places are places where people want to live their beautiful places. What you really need to do is say, “I will build, but I will do it safely.” After Andrew in 1992, the state completely changed its building codes, which dramatically reduces the risk of damage. While I was governor, we improved our building codes. And I think after that, we’re going to learn that you know, we need to improve the continuous improvement of our building codes

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, before I let you go, I have a broader question because you know, disasters are a time when people can come together. And our country is so incredibly divided. I know you do. This weekend, we heard some pretty disturbing rhetoric from the former president who tweeted that Senator McConnell has a death wish. He said some racist things about his wife, former Cabinet Secretary Elaine Chao. Last night at his rally, Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green made a false claim that Democrats want Republicans dead, and have already begun the killing. Given the level of security threat at this time. Would you rebuke these comments?

SEN. SCOTT: But I think what we need to do is bring them all together. I would also say the other way around. Harris said yesterday that the day before yesterday that, you know, if you have a different skin color, you will be relieved.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s not what the vice president said. He talked about equality and the problem within FEMA. But I’m talking specifically about Marjorie Taylor Greene.

SEN. SCOTT: No, no, no. Wait, wait, Margaret. Margaret, let’s make sure. FEMA must be color blind. FEMA must provide support to all. Now, here’s what I’m going to tell you here, I think we need to do — President Trump has talked about this incredible inflationary spending that’s hitting the poorest families. I grew up in a poor family. I watched him play must hurt my mom. We have a house, watch how we spend that money. I know, you’re talking about.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know sir. You talk about substance, and I’d love to talk to you about it. But what I quoted you as saying McConnell has a death wish. He said racist things about Elaine Chao. And then they’ve already started the killings. I mean, this is not a policy dispute, Senator, the language is what I’m talking about. Not dangerous;

SEN. SCOTT: I think we all need to figure out how we’re going to start bringing people together and have a common goal of giving every American the opportunity to get a great job for their kids to get an education, believe they can be anything and to make sure that everyone lives in a safe committee. This is what I do every day. And I tried to rally people to do that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And would you agree that this language doesn’t bring people together?

SEN. SCOTT: I think what President Trump was talking about is the fact that we can’t keep spending money. We’re — We’re going to hurt our poorest families more with this reckless spending by Democrats, and we can’t stop it. We cannot give in to their spending.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. That’s not what the former president said. And Coco Chow was the phrase he used to refer to a former cabinet secretary, Elaine Chao.

SEN. SCOTT: It seems — he likes it because you know, he gives people nicknames. I’m sure he has a nickname for me. Well. So you can ask him what he means by his nicknames, what I want to make sure I achieve what I can do. I can do my best to bring people together and I will try to bring people together.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay, but I know, Senator, you know the Democrats haven’t already started murdering Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Green said.

SEN. SCOTT: I didn’t see what he said. But it’s also not helpful what the Vice President says when she thinks celebrities will treat people differently based on the color of their skin.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re going to have the female administrator on the program to talk about fairness. But the kills that already started really stood out to me. So I wanted to make sure you responded to this comment. We’ll leave it there. Thanks and good luck.

SEN. SCOTT: I didn’t hear that, We need to bring people together. Please play pray for our state.

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