Florida Gov. Rick Scott has not endorsed a candidate in the U.S. presidential contest, but he strongly endorsed the “free market” Thursday morning, using a Holocaust-era quote to encourage business leaders to defend capitalism during the presidential primaries.
“I’ve got a quote in my office,” he said before paraphrasing Martin Neimöller’s famous statement criticizing the complacency of some during the Nazi-era. “First they came for the Jews, and I wasn’t a Jew so I didn’t say anything...”
He linked the quote to criticisms, made by presidential candidates former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, about Bain Capital, which former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney started.
“We shouldn’t be allowing candidates to attack people in business, we should be saying… 'That’s us',” Scott said at a quarterly board meeting of Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development partnership with private businesses.
Scott is a former CEO who ran several businesses prior to becoming governor last year. After the speech, he said he used to quote to say the free market was worth defending.
“When you see somebody being attacked because they live the American dream, we ought to go out and say, ‘Gosh, I’d like to live the American dream’,” he said.
Scott's Press secretary, Lane Wright, later told the Associated Press that the comment was used to make a point, and should not been seen as a Holocaust comparison.