Gov. Rick Scott travels to Puerto Rico Thursday to offer "guidance, advice and assistance" to the hurricane-ravaged island nearly nine months after Maria struck.
Scott was in New York Wednesday and was asked about Puerto Rico's potential impact on the 2018 election in Florida on Fox News' The Story with Martha MacCallum.
"Well, first off, anything that happened with Puerto Rico should not be about politics," Scott said. "I'm going back there (Thursday) for my sixth visit. And I'm going back there to try to help them. I work with the governor."
Scott's office said Scott was invited by Gov. Ricardo Rossello and will also meet with Puerto Rico's lieutenant governor, secretary of state and speaker of the House, and he planned meetings with local business leaders.
It is Scott's sixth visit to the island since the storm hit last September. He brought with him Cissy Proctor, director of the state Department of Economic Opportunity, and Wes Maul, the state chief of emergency management.
Scott's opponent in Florida's U.S. Senate race, Democrat Bill Nelson, last visited the island earlier this month.
Harvard University researchers released a report this week that said at least 4,645 deaths are attributable to the storm. The official death toll is 64.
Asked by Fox News if he believed the numbers in Harvard's study, Scott said: "Whatever the number is, it's — I mean, you just — you know, it's horrible. We — you know, we went through Irma. And my whole goal that whole hurricane was, I want to keep everybody alive."