Florida Gov. Rick Scott is taking his political follies to the international level.
King Juan Carlos I is feeling the fallout of one of the biggest controversies of his life for going on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana. It's a touchy subject in the country right now. Scott is on a trade mission to Spain this week and met with the King, and all the guv wanted to talk about was this hunting trip to Botswana. The king was not amused, and now the exchange has become a source of political comedy in Spain.
It was revealed in April that the king had taken a hunting trip to Botswana, a fact that was uncovered when he had to fly home to Spain after injuring his hip. One in four Spaniards is currently unemployed, and his subjects didn't appreciate the king's extravagant ways. A picture also emerged of the king holding a gun next to a dead elephant. Juan Carlos is the honorary president of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Foundation, so the trip reeked of hypocrisy. He is generally popular, but the trip went over like a lead balloon in Spain and had some people talking about abdication. The king has since apologized.
Now the scandal is the absolute last thing the king wants to talk about. However, Rick Scott apparently heard about the story but not the controversy.
"I've ridden elephants. I've never tried to shoot one," was literally the first words out of Scott's mouth as he entered the room to meet the king.
Note to Governor Scott: While on diplomatic missions, do not talk about foreign dignitaries' recent scandals.
It's like if someone greeted Scott with the line, "I've ridden high-speed rail. I've never tried to kill it," or "I've run a company before. I've never had it subjected to the largest fraud settlement in my country's history."
Scott apparently didn't understand that the king didn't want to talk about the trip, so he continued blabbing on about it. Scott asked the king how he was injured, and talked about his own travels to Botswana. Scott's wife Annette began talking about how they were in a Jeep that was being chased by elephants in Botswana and that she wished that the king had been in the Jeep with them. The last thing the king wants right now is to be back in Botswana.
The king meanwhile kept shaking other people's hands as the Scotts blabbed on about Botswana.
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The incident has become fodder in the Spanish media, and El Intermedio, something sort of like the Spanish version of The Daily Show, lampooned the exchange.