Sens. Rick Scott and Chuck Schumer in Twitter feud over relief aid to Puerto Rico
Scott tweeted out a clip of his appearance on CNN's “State of the Union” Sunday, when he spoke about the relief bill.
“To me this is all politics. This is Chuck Schumer saying that he cares more about Puerto Rico than President Trump does. I think we should have passed the bill that Sen. Shelby had done,” Scott told “State of the Union" host Jake Tapper.
Scott met with Trump at the White House Thursday along with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., to discuss a possible deal with the commander-in-chief on relief to Puerto Rico. Trump is feuding with the island's Democratic officials and reportedly railed against aid to Puerto Rico at a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans last month.
The island was slammed by back-to-back hurricanes in 2017.
Scott called out Schumer in the tweet, saying he need to “stop these political games.”
Schumer responded to Scott by asking how the freshman senator could support the bill “that strips needed help from the island and is opposed by PR’s [Puerto Rico] governor?”
“Why not stand up for both PR & Florida, and have the courage to tell Trump to leave no community behind?” the minority leader wrote.
In a tit-for-tat, Scott retaliated, saying, “This is a great example of why people hate politics. Not only did Sen. Schumer block a bipartisan bill, now he’s lying about it. Our bill doesn’t strip funding for P.R. It includes $600 mil in nutrition assistance funding for P.R. that I fought to get in the bill.”
The feud didn’t end there. Schumer again responded to Scott, saying Trump took “all aid for Puerto Rico but nutrition assistance out of the bill.”
“The bill has none of the long-term recovery & resilience aid PR has asked for repeatedly. Stop the bull. Stand up to the President. Help all communities rebuilding from disaster,” Schumer fired back.
Scott responded by accusing Schumer of refusing to give Puerto Rico help in order to “prolong a political fight with Trump.”
“I’m working with the Rs, Ds and the President to get a deal done. But it shouldn’t have taken this long. FL’s been waiting 6 months. The truth is, you’re more than happy to give Puerto Rico nothing if it helps prolong a political fight with Trump. That’s shameful,” Scott responded.
He shared a Politico article on the feud calling it “personal.”
“It’s personal when Sen. Schumer blocks billions for FL’s Panhandle after the devastation of Hurricane Michael. It’s personal when he blocks Nutrition Assistance funding for Puerto Rico after they cut benefits. No more games. Time to get this done,” he wrote.
After Scott narrowly won his Senate bid over incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., he said in a speech on the Senate floor that he would be “a voice for the people of Puerto Rico.”
Earlier this month, a bill that would have given relief to those states affected by natural disasters failed 44-49 in the Senate. The $13 billion package would have “provided $600 million for Puerto Rico’s food stamp program,” NBC News reported. An alternative that was proposed by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Schumer was similar in the aid provided to Puerto Rico “while freeing up grant funding from the Department of House and Urban Development that has already been allocated to the island,” Politico reported. Democrats were blocked by Republicans from bringing it to the floor.
In a recent op-ed that was published in the New York Daily News, Schumer wrote that relief for the island “shouldn’t be locked away in the U.S. Treasury because of bureaucratic red tape.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.