CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Florida Gov. Rick Scott Thursday responded to what critics said was a refusal Thursday morning to disavow Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “Islam hates us” comment to CNN.
Scott's appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" lasted just minutes Thursday morning after he continually dodged a question about whether Islam is a religion "that hates America."
"I can tell you that, you know, I'm glad everybody's in Florida," he said. "We're doing well here. The debate's going to be fun tonight. I hope they talk about jobs -- that's the most important issue."
He later responded to criticism of his answer while speaking with a gaggle of reporters as he arrived at the University of Miami in advance of Thursday’s GOP presidential debate.
“There are people that love this country. There’s people that don’t love this country. What we do know, and it’s no surprise, is that radical Muslims don’t like our country,” Scott said Thursday afternoon.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida had said that Thursday morning, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, “Governor Scott repeatedly refused to answer and dodged multiple direct questions such as: Do you think Muslims in the State of Florida hate America? Do you think that Muslims hate Americans? Does Islam hate America? Do you personally think that Islam is a religion that hates America? Can you answer the question or should we scooped [sic]? The Governor’s only relevant answer to any of those questions was: ‘Trump can talk about the things he wants to.’”
CAIR Florida said it blames a recent “unprecedented spike” in hate incidents in Florida and nationwide, at least in part, on comments by Trump and other Republican leaders, including Scott.
“It is deeply concerning that Governor Rick Scott would not defend the hundreds of thousands of American Muslims living in Florida, Floridians he is elected to serve and protect,” CAIR Florida’s Legislative and Government Affairs Director, Laila Abdelaziz, said in the statement.
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