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Far from Florida as storm brews, Gov. Rick Scott draws a hit from Bill Nelson

Nelson knocks "taxpayer-funded" trip to Israel; Scott has been monitoring storm.
Source: National Hurricane Center.
Published May 14, 2018
Updated May 14, 2018

Bill Nelson's campaign took a shot at Gov. Rick Scott for going on a "taxpayer-funded" trip to Israel while a storm approaches Florida.

"As Rick Scott uses taxpayer funds to further his campaign in Israel, the National Hurricane Center is warning Floridians about a storm in the Gulf," campaign manager Marley Wilkes said in a statement. "This comes just days after reports of Rick Scott appointing a former personal aide to a top Division of Emergency Management position, for which he is not qualified."

"Rick Scott is in Israel instead of minding the store at home. With a threat swirling in the Gulf, Rick Scott is using taxpayer dollars to promote his campaign, proving once again, he has abandoned his job as governor. Per usual, Rick Scott is putting himself and his political career over the interests and safety of Floridians."

Scott, in Jerusalem for the opening of the U.S. Embassy, has been tweeting about the storm, and his schedule was updated today to reflect that he spoke today with Department of Emergency Management Director Wes Maul.

The governor is flying back tonight and plans to attend the Tuesday morning funeral of William Gentry, a Highlands County sheriff's deputy who was shot to death last week. Gentry's funeral is at 11 a.m. in Sebring.

Scott's campaign called Nelson's attack "highly insensitive and diminishes the global importance of  the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem – not to mention to many Floridians," and said he's been on numerous "junkets" in many years in political office.

— Times Tallahassee Bureau Chief Steve Bousquet contribued to this report.