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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott kicks off Day 3: 'How many more Orlandos?'

20

July

Gov. Rick Scott kicked off the third night of the Republican National Convention Wednesday by calling on Americans to elect Donald Trump president because he's the only candidate who can defeat terrorism.

He began on a personal note, by thanking Americans everywhere for their sympathy and support for the families of the victims at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando in which 49 people were killed on June 12.

"How many more Orlandos, San Bernardinos or Fort Hoods will happen until President Obama decides to be honest?" Scott asked. "I cried with the grieving moms and dads and brothers and sisters of the 49 people slaughtered by the ISIS-inspired terrorist. This war is real. It is here in America, and the next president must destroy this evil. Donald Trump is the man for that job."

Scott said he has known Trump for about 20 years, dating to a time when Trump was building luxury hotels and casinos and Scott was building Columbia/HCA into the country's largest for-profit hospital system. 

"This election is about the very survival of the American dream," Scott said. "Vote for Donald Trump."

In hewing closely to Trump's campaign script, however, Scott must have had to swallow hard, because he uttered a line that has contradicted nearly every one of his own pronouncements since he took office in January 2011: "Our economy is not growing," Scott said. "Our jobs are going overseas." Hardly a day has gone by that Scott hasn't touted the growth and new jobs in Florida, the nation's third largest state.

Near the end of his speech, Scott bashed Democrat Hillary Clinton: "She fails, she fails, she fails," which brought chants of "Lock her up! Lock her up!" from the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Unlike most convention speakers, Scott introduced himself ("My name is Rick Scott") as he began his six-minute speech, which was carried live on CNN and MSNBC but not on the Fox News Channel. It was a brief but coveted turn on the national stage for a leader widely viewed as a likely candidate for U.S. Senate in Florida in 2018.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 10:48pm]

    

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