Under the way Gov. Rick Scott wants to award Donald Trump the Republican nomination, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy would never been presidents of the United States, Fox News host Neil Cavuto argued with Scott during a prickly interview with the two-term governor.
Scott had just told Cavuto that Trump should be the Republican nominee if he get’s close to the 1,237 delegates needed to be the party’s candidate. If Trump is “very close to having all of the delegates he needs and doesn’t get it” it will be difficult for Republicans to win in November, Scott told Cavuto.
But that brought a quick rebuke from Cavuto.
“You seem to be saying there will be hell to pay if he doesn’t get the nomination when he doesn’t have the 1,237 delegates,” Cavuto said during the segment on Your World with Neil Cavuto. “Those are the rules. Everyone understood its 1,237.”
But Scott said taking the nomination away from Trump if he’s close would become a big problem for the party in November because of how Trump has drawn new voters into the party.
“I would hope he’d have 50 percent, but if he’s close he needs to be our nominee,” said Scott, who endorsed Trump on Wednesday after he won Florida’s presidential primary.
But Cavuto said under the logic of being close John F. Kennedy would have been passed over for Lyndon B. Johnson, who had the delegate lead in 1960. Then later, Cavuto pointed out Abraham Lincoln did not have the delegate lead in 1860 on the first ballot of the Republican convention. Instead, William H. Seward was leading in delegates on the first two rounds of ballots at the convention, before Lincoln became a compromise choice when it was clear Seward would not get the required number of delegates needed.
“By that token Abraham Lincoln in 1860 would have never had a chance to be president because another guy had a bigger lead in delegates,” Cavuto said of Scott’s idea to give the nomination to Trump because he’s leading but does not have the required number of delegates.
Scott veered away from getting directly into the Seward vs Lincoln debate, instead re-stating what he said should happen in Ohio this summer.
“He’s winning, he’s way ahead in the delegate count. He’s going to be way ahead at the convention,” Scott said. “It’s going to be a big mistake if we want to win in November. I want a nominee that is going to win.”
Even after the 7 minute interview ended, that wasn’t the end of the debate. Later during his show, Cavuto brought on Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who when asked by Cavuto, took a different position.
“We have to follow the laws of our land,” Bondi, a Republican, said. “And the laws of our land says he has to have 1,237, period. So if Donald doesn’t have 1,237 of course, we’ll go into a contested convention.”
Pressed later by Cavuto, Bondi declared: “The rule is the rule.”