Gov. Rick Scott, who has vociferously criticized Charlie Crist for planning a trip to Cuba, wouldn’t respond to questions from a reporter in Tampa Thursday about Cuba trips by his own supporters, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a political marketing firm.
In a news conference after a campaign appearance by Scott and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Thursday, Creative Loafing reporter Mitch Perry tried to ask Scott twice whether the Chamber and the political operatives deserved the same criticism Scott has levelled at Crist.
The Chamber is a major Republican donor and booster of GOP candidates. It announced recently that Chamber officials will lead a trade delegationto Cuba, and favors lifting the trade embargo.
Taproot, a Tallahassee marketing firm, has done extensive work for the state GOP, Scott’s independent political committee and other Republicans.
As he typically does, Scott didn’t respond to the question, and instead simply repeated his campaign talking points on the subject.
Asked whether the Chamber and the consulting firm, Taproot Creative, deserve the same criticism as Crist, Scott said, “Charlie Crist, if he wants to go, look at what he’s going to do. He’s going to go down there and help the Castro regime.”
When Perry then asked, “Is the Chamber of Commerce helping the Castro regime by going down there?” Scott replied, “I’m going to tell you, what Charlie Crist is doing by going to Cuba, he’s helping the Castro regime.” Scott talked about the Cuban regime fomenting unrest in Venezuela, and added, “We need to stand with Cuban-Americans, we need to stand with the Venezuelans, Charlie Crist is doing the opposite.”
Listen to the exchange here.
Scott campaign spokeswoman Jackie Schutz issued a statement today saying Scott “agrees with Senator Marco Rubio on this -- while the U.S. Chamber is right on many issues, they are dead wrong on their policy toward Cuba.