By JILL COLVIN
WASHINGTON (AP) — Florida Sen. Rick Scott, chair of the GOP’s Senate elections committee, on Wednesday criticized the Texas Republican Party’s new platform for not being “inclusive” when it described homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice.”
Scott spoke to reporters at a breakfast just days after GOP delegates in the country’s largest red state approved the new platform, which also falsely labels President Joe Biden an “acting” commander-in-chief and says that Texas “retains the right to secede from the United States.”
“My experience is, you know, the Republican Party is inclusive. And so I don’t — I wouldn’t have supported that, what they did,” Scott said when pressed on the homophobic language, which he said was not inclusive. He also reiterated that he accepts Biden’s election.
The platform, which falsely claims that Biden “was not legitimately elected,” underscores how far Texas Republicans have moved to the right and how deeply former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election have become ingrained in the party.
No evidence has emerged to support Trump’s claims of a stolen election, which top government officials, judges and even senior members of the former president’s own campaign staff have rejected. Indeed, an Associated Press review of every potential case of voter fraud in six battleground states disputed by Trump found fewer than 475 instances total — a number that would have made no difference to the outcome.
Scott, who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has been reluctant to criticize fellow Republicans as he works to flip the Senate this November. Scott said be believes the party can win 54 seats and retake control of the chamber amid soaring inflation and Biden’s low approval ratings.
On Wednesday, he again dismissed growing concerns over the electability of two Republican Senate candidates: Herschel Walker, the party’s nominee in Georgia, and former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who is seeking the Republican nomination in a highly competitive Aug. 2 primary to replace GOP Sen. Roy Blunt.
Greitens, who resigned in disgrace in 2018, recently released a campaign video that shows him brandishing a shotgun and declaring that he’s hunting RINOs — a pejorative term meaning “Republicans In Name Only.” Walker, meanwhile, has been grappling with revelations that he dramatically inflated his business record and has several children that he had not previously publicly acknowledged.
Scott, who has declined to take sides in party primaries, said it was up to voters to pick their nominees, but predicted Walker would win in November against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.
As for Greitens, Scott said he hadn’t seen the campaign video, but said: “I don’t believe that we ought to ever be promoting any violence.”
Still, he was bullish on the eventual nominee’s chances.
“I think Missouri will make a good choice. And I think whoever they choose is going to be the Republican senator from Missouri,” he said. “There’s no reason to believe we won’t win Missouri whoever our nominee is there. We’ve got good people running. But we’ll see what happens.”
As for the Texas platform, he said, “Every state party has a right to make any decision they want.”
“I don’t tell people what they ought to run on,” he added. “We show people where the public is. But every state’s got different issues. And they ought to run on the issues that are important to them.”
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