Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, both strong supporters of President Donald Trump, decried racism and groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis as reverberations continued Wednesday across the country after a deadly weekend in Charlottesville, Va.
“I served in the Navy. My dad served in the Second World War,” Scott said. “I didn’t serve to defend neo-Nazis.”
Bondi, meanwhile, expressed support for a decision Wednesday by University of Florida President Kent Fuchs to deny a request to allow white nationalist leader Richard Spencer to speak on the Gainesville campus next month. Fuchs pointed to safety concerns.
“Of course, we all believe in the First Amendment, but his priority as president of the University of Florida is to protect the students that go to that school,” Bondi said. “That’s why I think that’s very important.”
Scott and Bondi, however, kept their distance from a controversy about statements Trump made after members of the “alt-right” rallied in Charlottesville, leading to clashes with counter-protesters.
The governor said he was disgusted by what took place in Charlottesville and said a white supremacist “murdered” a woman by driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Scott noted that the woman, Heather Heyer, 32, 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.”
Scott said he would urge everyone, including the president, to focus on unity. But when asked about a Trump comment referring to “some very fine people on both sides,” Scott said that is a matter for the president.
“You can ask President Trump what he said. I’ve been clear,” Scott said.
Bondi said her office on Tuesday secured the convictions of two members of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan who had worked as state correctional officers. The men were accused of plotting to kill a former inmate who is black.
“Racism is alive and thriving in our state and country, and it will not be tolerated,” Bondi said.
Bondi said she intends to make her opinions clear the next time she speaks to Trump. But Bondi, who said she continues to support Trump on economic and health-care issues, noted that Trump isn’t easily swayed in his views.
“Nobody is going to tell him what to do, I think everyone knows that. He’s his own man,” Bondi said. “If I talk to him, I’ll find out what his thoughts were when he said it. But I haven’t talked to him.”
–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida
Trump lost me with the fine folks on both sides comment.
Constantly amazed says
So I guess we a a nation should start looking into making some changes to the constitution. With the growing political pandering, the extortionist threats and outright mob violence it is clear WE NEE TO MAKE CHANGES.
Let’s start changing a few things once and for all so we can be dictated to by the most militant groups that get the most air time throw in a few “CELEBATICIANS” who rally to any cause which brings them into the spotlight and we will have become everthing we despise as Americans.
1. Eliminate “Freeom of speech” and all its companion forms of expression. There will always be somebody somewhere upset regardless and if it’s not popular at the moment a rally cry from opportunists, anarchists, politicians looking for votes and angry CELEBATICIANS .
2. Eliminate “Freedom of the press” any profit based media organization cannot be trusted to report accurate, fair and TRUTHFUL accounts without shaping the report to attract larger audiences and sponsors or even worse acting as agents for a political candidate or party.
3. Eliminate “Freedom of religion” let’s face it if we outlaw religion 60 % of the worlds if not our own problems would disappear.
This is in my opinion where this country is heading. When we find ways to circumvent the constitution for political correctness, monetary loss or gain or because we just don’t agree with the message or messenger we then have to consider the consequences of becoming precisely what we despise.
@Tricky Ricky & Big Pam
You’ve still got a spray tan ring around your noses.
“You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.”
– Jessica Mitford
Governor, you did in fact serve to defend Neo-Nazies. Defending free speech is easy when you agree with the speech; the real test are times like these when you find the speech so offensive. “Constantly amazed” has it exactly right; we are headed down a terrible path when we start talking about only allowing things in our society that we all agree with.
We are talking about the First Amendment to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights. It was not listed first by accident. These were the most important rights or freedoms our founding fathers felt that we had to protect.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
As an elected official you must support the philosophy which elected you. Therefore, the election result reflects on YOU!
Governor-You will do whatever it takes to get to the top. You are holding hands with Bondi and Scott in hopes of remaining in politics. You constantly have pled the 5th, been embroiled is embarrassing controversy, spent millions of our tax DOLLARS defending lawsuits. You are not in politics to serve anyone but YOURSELF. YOU CANNOT HOLD PUBLIC OFFICE WITHOUT THE VOTE OF THE PEOPLE-TRUMPS MONEY WOULD TAKE DO IT FOR YOU. You would never get my vote. I hope you leave the countRyan when your term as Governor is up, on a slow boat to China.