In Tampa, Rick Scott again calls for resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
The U.S. senator spoke after holding another one of his “Make Washington Work” tour stops
Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott at La Teresita Restaurant in Tampa with Cuban & Venezuelan dissidents on Jan. 10 (credit: Mitch Perry)
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott blasted President Joe Biden Tuesday for his trip to the southern border in El Paso and his overall record on immigration on Tuesday, and once again assailed the veracity of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for testifying that the U.S. – Mexican border is “secure.”
Speaking in Tampa at a meeting with local Cuban and Venezuelan dissidents before the news broke that a Texas House Republican filed articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, Scott said the secretary’s actions in office have infuriated congressional Republicans who are critical of the Biden administration’s handling of the immigration issue.
“Mayorkas is a complete liar,” Scott said. “Mayorkas has come to the Homeland Security Committee which I sit on and said the border’s secure. Give me a break. That’s a complete, absolute lie. He should resign. I think part of one of the roles of Congress is holding the executive branch accountable, whether it’s Republican or Democrat.” Mayorkas’ remarks were made in November.
The Department of Homeland Security did not respond immediately to a request for comment, but Mayorkas said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday that he would not step down from office, saying, “I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m proud to do it alongside 250,000 incredibly dedicated and talented individuals in the Department of Homeland Security, and I’m going to continue to do my work.”
Although he’s nearly two full years away before going before Florida voters for reelection, Scott is putting the work in early in his bid for a second term in office, spending the first two weeks of the new year traveling to major media markets throughout the state as part of his “Make Washington Work” tour.
On Tuesday it was in West Tampa, where the theme was human rights and democracy, and he encouraged the Cuban and Venezuelan advocates to get more involved in local politics.
“You sort of have to create (an opportunity) on your own. If you take the party structure, I mean, whoever’s there, they’re not giving up their power,” Scott said, referencing how he was an outsider to Florida GOP politics when he took on Bill McCollum for governor in 2010.
“The Republican Party (of Florida) wouldn’t even put my signs up,” Scott said. “They wouldn’t let me talk at their meetings. They voted not to let me talk. I still won, because I went and talked to people.”
It also helps to have money of course, as the former health care executive spent a reported $75 million to win his first race for governor against Democrat Alex Sink, who he defeated by just 1.2 percent in 2010.
That narrow victory was actually the biggest margin of his three runs for office. In 2014 he defeated Democrat Charlie Crist for his reelection to governor by exactly one percentage point, before going into a recount to knock off Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson by just .2 percent in 2018.
The Phoenix asked Scott on Tuesday what he made of the events in the House of Representatives last week, where it took 15 vote tallies before GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was voted in as House Speaker, after reportedly offering a number of concessions to GOP members who initially opposed his candidacy.
Scott had no issue with how it played out and compared it favorably to his unexpected challenge to Mitch McConnell immediately after last November’s election to lead the Republican Senate, which he lost on a 37-10 vote.
“I just had a race against Mitch McConnell and in that case, it was a secret ballot,” Scott said. “So you look at what happened in the House, I mean, people know how people voted. They know what they were asking for. It’s very public exactly what they got. This is the way the system ought to work. The system ought to work is that you represent your district, or in the case in the Senate, you represent your state. And if you have a different idea than somebody else, you ought to be hellbent on getting that done. So I think that what happened in the House was actually to choose how democracy works.”
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.