WATCH: Senator Rick Scott Lays Out Game Plan For How Republicans Will Win Back Senate In 2022 | Eastern North Carolina Now | National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott of Florida told NBC News’ Chuck Todd on Sunday that the recipe for Republicans winning back the Senate in 2022 will be to accept any political endorsement offered by former President Donald Trump.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott of Florida told NBC News' Chuck Todd on Sunday that the recipe for Republicans winning back the Senate in 2022 will be to accept any political endorsement offered by former President Donald Trump, if Trump offers one, but to also focus on the issues that matter most to voters.
Scott said that he hopes that "Democrats continue to be obsessed with Donald Trump" because they are avoiding the issues that matter most to voters.
"I think what we have to do is we have to say we would love Donald Trump's endorsement," Scott said. "If you're a Republican, you want his endorsement, but you're going to win on the issues. And if you listen to Ron Klain and you listen to Phil Murphy, they didn't get it. What, what Americans are fed up with, they're fed up with inflation. They're fed up with their kids being indoctrinated in their schools and they're fed up with defunding the police. And those are the issues that people care about. And so, I think this obsession with Donald Trump is going to be good for Republicans next year."
"I think you'd be foolish not to want and accept Donald Trump's endorsement, but you're going to win not because somebody endorses you," he continued. "You're going to win because you focused on making sure inflation gets stopped, making sure people get a job, making sure your kids aren't indoctrinated on critical race theory, making sure we have safe communities. That's going to be the issues that people care about."
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS HOST: Welcome back. After their strong election night on Tuesday, Republicans are even more bullish about winning control of the House next year, and now even the 50-50 Senate. Senator Rick Scott of Florida is the head of the Republican Senate campaign committee and he joins me now. Senator Scott, welcome back to Meet The Press, sir.
SEN. RICK SCOTT: It's great. It was a good day for Republicans on Tuesday and I think it puts us in position and we're going to have a great November '22.
CHUCK TODD: Let me start with something here that stuck out to me, that as unpopular as Joe Biden was in Virginia, Donald Trump was actually more unpopular. Both Glenn Youngkin and Jack Ciattarelli had a similar stance on how to deal with Donald Trump. They didn't attack him or denounce him, but they didn't embrace him or hug him, and sort of sending a message a bit to independent voters. Is that the better formula? And is that the formula you're looking for in Republican candidates in battleground states in 2022?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: Well, first, I hope Democrats continue to be obsessed with Donald Trump. I think Terry McAuliffe would probably run his campaign differently. He wouldn't focus his whole campaign on Donald Trump. I think what we have to do is we have to say we would love Donald Trump's endorsement. If you're a Republican, you want his endorsement, but you're going to win on the issues. And if you listen to Ron Klain and you listen to Phil Murphy, they didn't get it. What, what Americans are fed up with, they're fed up with inflation. They're fed up with their kids being indoctrinated in their schools and they're fed up with defunding the police. And those are the issues that people care about. And so, I think this obsession with Donald Trump is going to be good for Republicans next year.
CHUCK TODD: So, you're okay - because one of the things you had said is you didn't want Donald Trump to, that you were hoping he would not get involved in open Senate primaries, that you didn't want to get involved in open Senate primaries and you wanted the former president to be the same way. But he's not taken your advice. Does that complicate your ability to recruit candidates that you think can win?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: Absolutely not. I believe Republicans ought to let the voters decide. I remember my primary in 2010, my opponent had every Republican endorsement in the country almost and I won because I focused on the issue. So, I think you'd be foolish not to want and accept Donald Trump's endorsement, but you're going to win not because somebody endorses you. You're going to win because you focused on making sure inflation gets stopped, making sure people get a job, making sure your kids aren't indoctrinated on critical race theory, making sure we have safe communities. That's going to be the issues that people care about.
CHUCK TODD: You had said you're going to support all incumbents and I'm just curious, does that include Lisa Murkowski, where the former president has endorsed a primary challenger? And when you said you support, does that mean you will financially support Lisa Murkowski and actually help run a campaign against a primary opponent?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: Absolutely. We support - The National Republican Senatorial Committee, we support all of our incumbents. And fortunately for us, we've got great candidates running in our primaries. And fortunately for us, we've got Bernie Sanders candidates on the other side in many primaries. And so, we're going to be in a great position in '22.
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you this. Is there - if you win the majority in the Senate, is there something that a Republican Senate majority is going to work with President Biden on? Or are we looking at two years of gridlock?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: Well, I always say, "When we win", we're going to - in '22, look, I want to work with Democrats, but here's what I want to do. I want to create the best economy we could ever have. We had a great economy under President Trump. I want to make sure kids get a great education. I want to fund the police. I want to fund our military. So, now, if the Democrats want to continue to bankrupt our country, continue to raise the debt ceiling, continue to raise taxes, I'm going to fight that. I came to Washington to fight that stuff. I cut taxes and fees a hundred times as a governor. I paid off a third of the state debt. I had record funding for education, for the environment, for transportation. Those are the things I want to do, but I'm not going to go, I'm not going to go, and I hope Republicans don't go down this path of wasting money because eventually it costs somebody money.
CHUCK TODD: You think it was a mistake for Republicans to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: Well, everybody gets to make their own choice, but here's the way I looked at it. I like infrastructure. To me, that's roads, bridges, airports, and seaports. I spent $85 billion during my years as a governor, but guess what, I cut taxes and I also paid off a third of the state debt. That bill, remember how they promised it was going to be paid for? It wasn't. It wasn't paid for. And less than half of it dealt with roads, bridges, airports, and seaports. Let's do a bill that's real. We should do things and be honest what it is. Let's just do real infrastructure and let's quit saying that we're not going to raise your taxes eventually because we have these deficits. Chuck, we almost have $30 trillion worth of debt. $30 trillion worth of debt. We have to hope to God that our interest rates never go up because it will never be paid for. And by the way, there's no conversation about how do you - we've got to fix Medicare. We've got to fix Social Security to make sure they're funded and these programs can continue to last. The Democrats in D.C. and the Republicans continue to waste your money. And I'm going to, I'm going to oppose it all the way along.
CHUCK TODD: I've got to ask you something from our last poll because it is driving, I think, a major divisive point in American politics. And it's this issue of do you believe Joe Biden was elected legitimately. 93% of Democrats believe that, 71% of independents, but only 22% of Republicans believe Joe Biden was elected legitimately. Why is that?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: I can tell you Joe Biden is the president. We went through the constitutional process that, you know, he was elected. Now, I do believe there's a lot of buyer's remorse. A lot of people are scared to death of this ridiculous, this unbelievable inflation. Gas prices are up 50%, food prices up, housing prices up. I mean, the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, all these things. So, I think there's a lot of buyer's remorse -
CHUCK TODD: I understand what you're saying, but why - then you're part of the 22% that believe he was legitimately elected. Why do four in five Republicans not believe that?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: Well, I think you'd have to ask them, but I think, I think Joe Biden was elected president. I think, but you know, what we've got to do right now, we've got to figure out how do we start helping these families, because I can tell you what, in D.C. that's not happening.
CHUCK TODD: Senator, I think we both know the reason why that is. And let me put up something that the former president put out on October 21st. Not, like, six months ago. This is, like, three weeks ago. And he said this. "The insurrection took place on November 3rd, Election Day. January 6th was the protest." Is there any part of that statement that you agree with?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: First, Chuck, Democrats are focused on Donald Trump. Americans are focused on the future. So, look, you can go ask all these questions about why people think the way they do. I can tell you what, you know, we're going to win in '22 because we're going to talk about issues. We're not going to talk about the last election.
CHUCK TODD: But isn't it, you don't think it's a mistake to denounce what the former president is saying as a lie? I mean, it's not healthy - you won three elections by less than 1%. You won three elections, by the way, by less than a, less of a raw vote than the state of Pennsylvania where you voted to object. Every one of your Democrat opponents conceded. Why hasn't former President Trump conceded?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: I think you'd have to ask President Trump. I mean, first off, let's put it in perspective. My opponent in '18 did not concede until we went through two recounts and there were illegally found ballots after election night. So, let's don't act like these people just, oh, gosh, you're right, you won.
CHUCK TODD: Went through the court -
SEN. RICK SCOTT: That's not exactly what happened out here.
CHUCK TODD: Look, nobody is saying you don't go through the process. Senator -
SEN. RICK SCOTT: And we have plenty of Democrats that don't -
CHUCK TODD: I didn't say that -
SEN. RICK SCOTT: Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, wait a second. We've got plenty of Democrats that don't concede, okay. That's what happened. So, here's what happened. We have a duly elected president, okay. If - the Constitution was followed, I hope Democrats keep focusing all their time on Donald Trump. Republicans are going to focus on the issues and we're going to win big in '22. And that's exactly what I plan on doing.
CHUCK TODD: You're not at all concerned that former president Trump is helping to create a false narrative that there's something wrong with our elections?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: I'm focused on how do we win in '22. And I know exactly how to win. Do what I did in my three races, focus on issues. And by the way, if anybody wants to help make sure we win, go to NRSC.org. You can donate and make sure we win back the majority and Chuck Schumer is no longer the majority leader and taking us down this ridiculous socialist path.
CHUCK TODD: Speaking of majority leader, are you 100% supportive of Mitch McConnell as majority leader if you win the Senate?
SEN. RICK SCOTT: Absolutely. Mitch McConnell, I've known Mitch McConnell since the early '90s. I actually lived in Kentucky and supported him them. I have a good working relationship with Mitch McConnell. And we have elections generally every two years for the majority leader.
CHUCK TODD: Senator Rick Scott, Republican from Florida and the man charged with helping Republicans get control of the Senate in 2022. I appreciate you coming on and sharing your perspective with us, sir.