Members of Congress need to work to bring people together on policing, not incite division, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said on “This Week.”
Scott told “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos “justice is never perfect,” in response to the three guilty counts towards former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.
“We’ve got the best justice system in the world, and justice prevailed,” Scott told Stephanopoulos. “I am disappointed that people like Maxine Waters and Joe Biden spoke about it before verdict, I think we ought to bring people together not sort of incite people to do the wrong thing, but it’s horrible that it happened. I hope it never happens again.”
Waters came under fire from Republicans after telling protesters to “get more confrontational” if Chauvin was found not guilty, remarks the judge overseeing the trial said could aid in grounds for appeal. Biden weighed in on the case after the jury was sequestered but before a verdict was announced, calling the evidence “overwhelming.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman suggested to Stephanopoulos that when it came to police reform, Democrats did not want to negotiate with a Republican proposal, led by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
“I’m disappointed with the Democrats. Tim Scott worked hard last year on police reform bill, and the Democrats blocked it in the filibuster, so all of us would like to make sure we keep our communities safe,” he said.
Asked about qualified immunity — what seems to be the dividing line in further bipartisan negotiations on reform — Scott said he was hoping to find common ground on “best practices,” pointing to parts of Scott’s proposal that would increase transparency and incentivize doing away with chokeholds. Still, he added, he wanted to support law enforcement.
“I’ve always listened to everybody’s proposals, but what I’m not going to do is put a law enforcement in a position that they’ve got to second guess themselves when they’re trying to make sure people are staying safe,” he said. “The vast majority of law enforcement officers, show up every day, put their lives at risk every day and do the right thing.”
Stephanopoulos also pressed Scott on immigration policy, another area of contention between Democrats and Republicans, as the Biden administration struggles to handle the massive influx of unaccompanied minors at the border. He raised a quote from former President George W. Bush, who called today’s Republican Party “isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist.”
In response, Scott again said Democrats aren’t willing to meet in the middle when it comes to handling some of the nation’s most pressing issues.
“The Republican Party is the land of opportunity. I live in an immigration state, but I believe in legal immigration,” he started. “But look, the Democrats don’t want to do anything. I believe we’ve got to figure out how to take care of the DACA kids. We have to create security at the border and let’s figure out how we make us a country where people that want to live the dream that we want to live, can come in here on legal basis.”
Stephanopoulos challenged Scott, who is in charge of electing GOP senators in 2022, on the influence of former President Donald Trump over the party after he vowed to support moderate Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s eventual opponent when she is up for reelection next year. Murkowski became a frequent target of Trump’s after her vote to convict him during his second impeachment trial in the Senate.
“You’ve asked the former president to endorse all GOP incumbents, he refused to do that, he’s going to actively campaign, he says, against Sen. Lisa Murkowski,” Stephanopoulos said.
Scott said he believes Murkowski, who won her last election through a write-in campaign, will serve another term.
“Well, I think Lisa Murkowski will have a great win. We’re gonna have — you know, Republicans are united, we don’t like the Biden agenda,” he said. “This is a country with the land of opportunity, and I’m proud to be Republican, and I know we’re gonna have a big win in ’22 and Biden is helping us each and every day.”