Rick Scott comes to Washington after eight years governing the nation’s third-largest state and a perfect three-for-three record in expensive campaigns. He even gets a special swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed him to finish his term as governor by appointing dozens of supporters to various boards and commissions.
But Scott isn’t the highest-profile incoming senator. That distinction belongs to Utah senator and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who sealed the deal with an op-ed denouncing Donald Trump a day before taking office.
Instead, Scott comes to a city where the trash is overflowing on the National Mall because Trump decided to shut down the government to fight for wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. He’s the most junior senator in a body that regularly keeps the government running with hours or minutes to spare and his extra week in office as governor cost him three spots on the seniority list, a move that could affect committee assignments down the road.
“I don’t get why the government’s shut down, I didn’t do it,” Scott said during an interview inside a makeshift basement office. “I got my stuff done. Everyone wants to blame one person but it’s everyone’s responsibility; it’s House members... and the president. It’s all their responsibility to get this done.”
Scott expressed support for Trump’s border-wall push, arguing that a wall helps to fulfill every American’s desire to feel safe. He also hinted that the bomb-throwing tactics of past first-year senators like Ted Cruz, who led an effort to shut the government down in 2013 to try to repeal Obamacare, won’t be part of his game plan in Washington.
“If you look at my career I’ve gotten my stuff done by talking to other people and surrounding myself with smart people, by finding where there’s agreement and working on that, but also trying to be an incrementalist where I say, ‘What can you get done today?’”
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