Gov. Rick Scott weighs in on Confederate statue controversy

Governor says lawmakers will decide whether statues will be taken down

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott isn't one to go off script, so it came as a surprise this week when, in talking about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the governor told the Naples Daily News there was "no moral authority on both sides."

His office said he misspoke, intending to say "equivalency," and called the report irresponsible.

"Racism doesn't belong in our country," Scott said. "Neo Nazis, KKK, white supremacist, none of that belongs in a democracy like what we have."

The governor refused to weigh in on whether monuments honoring confederate soldiers, including one at the state capitol, should be taken down. 

"We need to allow that process to work," Scott said. "We need to allow everybody to engage in that process and then, as a society, make a decision about, you know, how we continue."

The governor said it's up state lawmakers to decide, but not now.

He said he would not call for a special session on the matter.

The legislature has also yet to agree on a new statue to replace one honoring a confederate general that represents Florida in the U.S. capitol.

Lawmakers agreed to a change in 2016 and narrowed their list to Mary McLeod Bethune, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the founder of Publix, George Washington Jenkins Jr.

"We are glad these names have been selected. We will see what the Legislature decides," Scott's office said in a statement.  

"Even if there were enough lawmakers that came out in support of calling for a special session, you wouldn't be willing to do that?" Local 10 News reporter Carlos Suarez asked the governor.

"The Legislature has a process of calling a special session on their own," Scott said.

Lawmakers won't be back in session until January.