Florida Gov. Rick Scott — who on Wednesday said there’s “no moral equivalence” between white supremacists and their opponents — will have lunch today with President Donald Trump, who’s been under fire for his blame-sharing assessment of the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
An official White House schedule released Wednesday night lists a 1 p.m. lunch date for the governor and the president at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, N.J.
Trump and Scott have broken bread before — including one Washington visit when Scott had both lunch and dinner with the president. Trump has publicly urged Scott to run for U.S. Senate next year against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
In Tallahassee on Wednesday, Scott decried racism and the groups who converged on Charlottesville last weekend.
“I served in the Navy. My dad served in the Second World War,” Scott said after a Cabinet meeting. “I didn’t serve to defend neo-Nazis.”
Scott said 32-year-old Heather Heyer, the woman killed when a car rammed into a group of counter-protesters, was “murdered” and noted she was about the same age as one of his daughters.
“There is no place in our country for racism, bigotry, the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists,” Scott said. He added: “There is no moral equivalence between the two sides.”
Trump has been accused of equating the white supremacists with the counter-protesters in Charlottesville after he said:” You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group — you had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent.”
Scott declined to offer an opinion on Trump’s remarks about Charlottesville. The president has said “many sides” are to blame.
“You can ask President Trump what he said,” Scott told reporters. “I’ve been clear.”
Trump this morning specifically rejected the “moral equivalency” charge in a Twitter attack on Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists and people like Ms. Heyer. Such a disgusting lie. He just can’t forget his election trouncing.The people of South Carolina will remember!,” Trump tweeted.
Trump added: “The public is learning (even more so) how dishonest the Fake News is. They totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry etc. Shame!”
Said Scott spokesman John Tupps: “Last week, President Trump invited Governor Scott to lunch. As Governor Scott always does when he meets with administration officials, he is going to advocate for priorities important to Florida families. Florida taxpayers send billions of dollars to Washington, and Governor Scott always wants to make sure issues important to Florida are at the forefront.”