Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and his NRSC are once again under fire, this time for sending fundraising emails to GOP voters asking, “where do you want Republicans to send illegal immigrants next?” The multiple-choice answers include “Barack Obama’s House,” “The White House,” and “San Francisco.”
Sen. Scott is the embattled head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), the official fundraising arm of the Senate GOP caucus. Recently he has been highly criticized by Republicans wondering why the NRSC’s funding of critical Republican senate campaigns has been so poor. Earlier this month a New York Times headline read: “How a Record Cash Haul Vanished for Senate Republicans.”
The NRSC email, posted to social media by The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, falsely claim the 50 Venezuelan immigrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, possibly unlawfully according to at least one lawsuit, are “illegal.” They had applied for asylum and were in the country legally.
“Democrats and their corrupt partners in the mainstream media just don’t get it,” the defensive email, titled, “OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE,” begins. “Republican Governors like Greg Abbott from Texas and Ron DeSantis from Florida showed coastal elite millionaires in Martha’s Vineyard what life is like on our country’s southern border – and they WERE NOT HAPPY.”
That too is false — there are few “coastal elite millionaires in Martha’s Vineyard” in late September, and most of the area’s residents were angered by what some legal experts are accusing DeSantis of: possible kidnapping.
“Biden’s BORDER CRISIS is only getting worse – and he REFUSES to do anything about it,” Scott’s email continues. DEADLY drugs, like fentanyl, are flowing into our country UNCHECKED – and Americans are dying at UNPRECEDENTED rates from overdoses. It’s sad – and PREVENTABLE.”
The email does not mention that Customs and Border Protection has seized 10,071 pounds of fentanyl this year already, according to The Arizona Republic. Nor does it explain how flying 50 asylum-seeking immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard would stop fentanyl from entering the U.S.
The Cato Institute, a right wing think tank, just last week reported “fentanyl is overwhelmingly smuggled by U.S. citizens almost entirely for U.S. citizen consumers.” But it also revealed that “60 percent of Republicans believe, ‘Most of the fentanyl entering the U.S. is smuggled in by unauthorized migrants crossing the border illegally.'”
Gov. DeSantis is being investigated by a Texas sheriff and sued by a Boston-based legal firm representing some of the Venezuelan immigrants. There are calls for the DOJ to open an investigation as well.
NBC News on Thursday reported the “air charter company Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration hired for his migrant-moving program has contributed big money to some top allies of the governor and was once legally represented by Rep. Matt Gaetz and his former partner, who is now Florida’s ‘public safety czar’ in charge of immigration policy.”
Reports say DeSantis has already paid more than $1.5 million in taxpayer funds on the possibly unlawful “stunt” to that “air charter company.”
Anger over Senator Scott’s NRSC fundraising email was strong on social media.
“Fascists,” tweeted Justin Hendrix, cofounder and CEO of the nonprofit Tech Policy Press.
“The Senate Republicans, whom respectable donors and conservative elites still consider it just fine to support, are raising money by embracing the exploitation of ‘illegal immigrants’ (who in fact aren’t illegal). Team Normal is now simply the wingman for Team Demagogue,” wrote veteran journalist and former Republican turned Never-Trumper and Democrat Bill Kristol.
“How is this legal? This can not possibly be legal,” said former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega.
“They are inciting hatred, xenophobia and violence. They are morally bankrupt, and are not fit to hold power,” warned Rep Sean Casten (D-IL).
“Andrew Jackson wants his bullshit back,” tweeted law professor and political scientist Anthony Michael Kreis, referring to the late American president responsible for the forced, brutal, violent, and deadly “removal” of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands.
“They’ve made human trafficking a central policy plank,” noted Media Matters for America senior researcher Jason Campbell.
“Liberal anger at the Martha’s Vineyard stunt wasn’t because the people were MIGRANTS, it was because they were PEOPLE—and jerking people around for a political stunt is despicable,” explained attorney Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, the policy director at the American Immigration Council. “That the right can’t understand this is a sign of how dehumanization has become a norm for some.”
“Online fundraising off human trafficking of people seeking asylum. Quite a party they’ve got there,” noted Democratic strategist and former Clinton campaign official Jesse Ferguson.
“Dehumanization and elimination as a fundraising tactic. Another reminder that this horror is what the MAGA base wants from their leaders,” warned Melissa Ryan, a consultant on combatting disinformation and extremism.
Jim Swift, senior editor at The Bulwark tweeted, “the cruelty is the point.”
Public affairs strategist Murshed Zaheed warns, “Republicans in the Trump era are going to operate like monstrous, inhumane ghouls. They are not going to stop until the national Democrats effectively counterattack them over it (ie go after DeSantis for potential criminal liabilities) instead of cowering in silence.”
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.