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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott cautions GOP against convention 'monkey business'



Republicans should respect the "will of the voters" when it comes to picking a presidential nominee, Florida Gov. Rick Scott told the party's elite Thursday, cautioning the GOP against any convention "monkey business."

What Scott didn't do: mention the candidate he's endorsed, Donald Trump.

Scott was the luncheon speaker at the Republican National Committee's spring meeting, being held over three days at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood. He didn't use the prominent platform to rally reluctant Republicans round Trump.

Instead, Scott focused on his favorite subject -- jobs -- and chided all the candidates for failing to make that issue a campaign centerpiece.

"We know how tall their boots are. We know the size of of their hands. We know who's got the best hair," he said. "We also know that we all love Ronald Reagan, we don't care too much about Hillary Clinton, we're pro-life and we're anti-ISIS.

"What are we missing? What have we not talked about? Jobs. If you talk to anybody -- even in our state, were we are heading in the right direction -- the job market, growing this economy, is still the most important thing on the average person's mind."

Scott tied the 2016 presidential race to his own election in 2010, noting he was an outsider unsupported by GOP stalwarts.

"The voters made a choice. The voters believed they should choose," Scott said. Then he brought it back to July's convention, which could be contested if Trump doesn't obtain the required delegate majority: "We have got to be transparent. We can't take the chance that we're accused of any monkey business, tricks, stunts -- anything."

Scott never uttered the word Trump. In fact, the only candidate he mentioned, in an attempt at humor, was former candidate Ben Carson, whom the governor joked "is either the angriest person in the world, or the calmest."

Scott later told reporters Trump will either win the nomination outright "or be very close."

"I'm focused on winning in November. The way to win in November is rally behind Donald Trump. I think he's the best candidate to win in November," Scott said.

But why not talk about him from stage?

"I used the microphone to brag about Florida," Scott said.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2016 2:25pm]


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