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Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., during a news conference at the Capitol on Jan. 25, 2023.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., during a news conference at the Capitol on Jan. 25.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images file

Scott cut from Commerce Committee months after failed leadership bid against McConnell

Scott, who helmed the Senate GOP's campaign arm in 2022, tried to dethrone McConnell as Republican Leader last year.


Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is upset that he has lost his seat on the Senate Commerce Committee, blaming the decision on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who quashed Scott’s leadership challenge late last year

“McConnell made the decision,” Scott told NBC News, “I got a text that I wasn’t on it. Nobody called me.”

When asked if he thought McConnell did this in retaliation for failed attempt to replace him as GOP leader, Scott said, “So I’ve probably run one of the biggest companies, not the biggest company ever, than anybody that’s been on the Senate, the third biggest state, I’ve been on the committee for four years. So why, you know, he made the decision, so you should ask him.”

A spokesman for McConnell declined to comment on the reason for removing Scott from the committee.

Scott spent last cycle as the head of the Senate Republican campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee. After Republicans lost their chance to flip the Senate, Scott launched a bid for Republican Leader, but lost to McConnell.

The committee assignments for Senate Republicans took longer than normal for this Congress — Republicans lost a seat on committees now that Democrats have a clear 51-49 majority in the Senate, and the 118th Congress includes a large (and outspoken) class of Republican freshman due to the high number of retirements last year.

One of those outspoken freshman was Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., who tried to bypass a Republican conference rule that would have precluded him from being a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee because the other senator from his state (Republican Sen. Josh Hawley) was already a member.

The conference voted to deny that request, so Schmitt did not get the spot on Judiciary that he wanted. But the freshman was then added to the Commerce Committee (along with two other freshmen Republican senators, Ohio's J.D. Vance and North Carolina's Ted Budd).

“We just had a vote that, Eric Schmitt, that we didn’t that we didn’t disenfranchise anybody on the committee,” Scott said of the vote to give Schmitt a waiver to be on Judiciary, “You know, and so it just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Scott is not the only Senate Republican to lose his slot on the Commerce Committee. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is also no longer on the committee either, but he was added to the Senate Finance Committee, which is considered to be one of the top spots on Senate panels.

“Sen. Johnson is joining the finance committee and looking forward to working with Ranking Member Sen. Crapo,” a spokesperson for Johnson told NBC News.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also lost his seat on the Commerce Committee, but he was added to the Senate Budget Committee.

Scott was not given a slot on another committee in exchange for coming off the Commerce Committee, and will continue to serve on the Armed Services, Homeland Security, Aging Committees.