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Sen. Rick Scott says there are ‘arguments to do’ abortion restrictions ‘at the federal level’

The Senate GOP campaign chair said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press”: “I’m pro-life. As you know, I think we ought to have reasonable restrictions."
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks on July 23 in Tampa.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks in Tampa on July 23.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign fundraising arm, said Sunday that he supports "reasonable" abortion restrictions and that "there's arguments to do it at the federal level."

Scott was asked on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” to weigh in on Sen. Lindsey Graham's bill to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy and whether he believes such restrictions should be done on the federal level.

"Look, there’s arguments to do it at the federal level," he said. "Right now, all the candidates are taking positions.

"I’m pro-life, as you know. I think we ought to have reasonable restrictions. I think a lot of people are comfortable with 15 weeks and exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, but every candidate gets to make their choice."

Asked whether the proposal by Graham, R-S.C., complicated Republican efforts to win the Senate this fall, Scott implied that abortion rights is a hot-button issue pushed by Democrats.

“Democrats have talked a lot about that this year. So every candidate has been talking about what their position is on abortion,” Scott said. “So I think it’s important that people tell people what their position is, and it’s being done state by state all across the country.”

“I don’t know if what Lindsey put out changed the conversation, but it is an important issue for the country,” he said, without taking a position on the bill.

Several Republican leaders attacked the bill, which Graham introduced last month, as a distraction that divides the GOP and casts the party as one with extremist views on abortion.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has distanced himself from the bill.

“Most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” McConnell told reporters last month.

In an interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Scott declined to condemn Donald Trump after the former president attacked McConnell and his wife, Elaine Chao, who was transportation secretary during the Trump administration.

In a post Friday on his Truth Social website, Trump suggested that McConnell had a “death wish” because he supported legislation sponsored by Democrats. He also referred to Chao, who was born in Taiwan, as McConnell's "China loving wife, Coco Chow.”

Pressed about whether he is OK with Trump’s remarks about McConnell, Scott did not condemn the comments. He did, however, characterize Trump's post as part of his habit of giving “people nicknames.”

Asked whether he is OK with Trump’s using a racist term, Scott replied that it is “never ever OK to be a racist.”

“I think you always have to be careful if you’re in the public eye how you say things. You want to make sure you’re inclusive," Scott said. "So I hope no one is racist. I hope no one says anything that’s inappropriate."