Rick Scott Praises Donald Trump in USA Today Editorial

Florida Gov. Rick Scott isn't ready to make an endorsement in the Republican presidential nomination race, but he does have kind words for frontrunner and fellow shady businessman Donald Trump. Which should surprise exactly no one. In fact, he seems so impressed by Trump he wrote an entire USA Today editorial praising him while simultaneously dumping on that ol' Republican establishment. 

Scott, whose approval numbers pin him as one of the least popular governors in the nation, clearly sees a lot of himself in Trump. 

"Political pundits are shocked that Donald Trump is leading in the polls," writes Scott. "The same thing happened in 2010 when I entered the Florida gubernatorial race against the already anointed and establishment-endorsed sitting Republican attorney general. One establishment member even said to me 'how can you be governor? I don’t know you.'"

Scott then goes on to praise a number of other businessmen turned Republican politicians but returns his gaze to Trump. 

"I know Donald Trump personally, and while I currently have no plans to endorse a candidate before Florida’s March presidential primary, there is no doubt that Donald is a man who speaks and tweets his mind freely," he writes. "But, I don’t think his ability to give the most interesting interviews or speeches is the only thing that has him leading in the polls. I think he is capturing the frustration of many Americans after seven years of President Obama’s very intentional government takeover of the American economy."

So this isn't an endorsement of Trump, but part of us sort of wonders if this may be an audition for the running mate slot. Scott goes on to mention his own accomplishments as governor (naturally, some of those claims are dubious) and lays out his hope that lower taxes and less regulation will lead to more Americans starting businesses. 

"It is my hope that every Republican presidential candidate will become laser-focused on job creation because I want our next president to be a Republican, and I want them to eliminate the regulations and taxes that are poisoning our country’s future," he writes. 

Scott and Trump do have a lot in common. They're both businessman who had never held public office before running. They both have shady business pasts. (Though to be fair, Scott's is almost certainly shadier than Trump's. His former company paid out the largest Medicare fraud settlement in U.S. history.) They both have mansions in ritzy Florida towns – Scott's in Naples; Trump's in Palm Beach. 

There are some differences, though. Trump is much better at public speaking. Scott has better hair. 

Of course, two of Trump's biggest rivals hail from Scott's state. Though, Scott has little history with his predecessor in the governor's mansion, Jeb Bush, and while his time as governor coincides with Rubio's time as senator, the two have never seemed particularly close. 

Scott's praise of Trump is a bit of an outlier in the state for Republican politicians. Florida Rep. David Jolly once took the house floor to call for Trump to leave the race, while Rep. Carlos Curbelo has publicly wondered if Trump is a decoy candidate designed to ensure a Hillary Clinton win. The vast majority of Florida's Republican establishment have thrown their official endorsements behind Bush. 
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Kyle Munzenrieder