The one-sided feud between Florida Sen. Rick Scott and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continues.
During an interview Friday afternoon on Philadelphia’s WPHT-AM, Scott suggested that the Kentucky Republican could have stopped the Internal Revenue Service from hiring 87,000 new tax agents if he’d only had the political courage to do so.
“Well, I ran against Iran against Mitch McConnell because, you know, he’s been caving into the Democrats. You know, he supported the omnibus bill,” Scott said, referring to the $1.7 billion package passed late last year with Republican Senate support, while Democrat Nancy Pelosi was still House Speaker.
“Why couldn’t we wait two weeks for Republicans to take over the House before we did the omnibus,” Scott asked. “Guess what? We would have gotten rid of the 87,000 I.R.S. Agents.”
Scott lost his bid for Senate leadership, garnering only ten votes in his failed challenge to McConnell after the 2022 Midterm Elections. Conservative Senators aligned with him have made similar arguments that Senate Republicans could have stopped the bill, despite Democrats controlling the Senate before and after the 2022 election.
Scott, the wealthiest member of the Senate, has messaged heavily against the workforce additions at the IRS, including a letter telling people there is no point in applying to join the “IRS super police force” that would “kill” negligent taxpayers because Republicans would defund them.
The Senator has been no less voluble about McConnell, meanwhile, even with the caucus not backing his failed challenge for the Minority Leader position last year. He did not rule out another challenge for leadership in two years during a recent media hit on The Charlie Kirk Show,
“Absolutely. I’m not giving up,” Scott said in response to a direct question. “Charlie, I’m not giving up.”
“I pray that you can become Senate Majority Leader one day. We should be in the majority in the Senate. It’s ridiculous that we’re not,” Kirk harrumphed.
The GOP failure to flip the Senate in spite of a challenging first two years for President Biden, which should have offered momentum, was a subject of an ongoing controversy between Scott and McConnell during Scott’s less-than-successful run as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).
Scott spent a lot of time last year defending NRSC strategy against attacks, and also delivered a series of defenses of the 2022 candidates who emerged from Primaries while addressing McConnell’s doubts that Republicans had more than a 50/50 “jump ball” shot at taking back the Senate due to questionable candidates in certain races. Scott predicted that as many as 55 seats could go Republican, which did not happen.
The first public indications of disquiet between caucus leader McConnell and Scott came last winter. They had a public split over Scott’s “12-point plan to rescue America.” McConnell slammed the plan’s suggestion of review of federal entitlement programs as a nonstarter even if the GOP had taken back Senate control.
Scott has begun his re-election campaign, and the messaging suggests McConnell is his foil more so than any in-state politician. The Senator’s first ad addressed his failed challenge to McConnell with a national ad buy seen on Fox News.
“We’re on the road to woke socialism and Republicans are just a speed bump,” Scott warned in the spot. “We can’t keep doing the same old thing. It’s time for Republicans to be bold, speak the truth, and stop caving in.”
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