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Rick Scott: GOP needs to unify around Donald Trump

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott is telling #NeverTrump’ers: Get with the program.

“My goal with regard to the presidential race is to get the Republican Party unified,” he said. The Naples Republican, who officially endorsed Trump, spoke to reporters after a Florida Cabinet meeting.

“It’s a clear choice,” the governor said. “We’ve got a businessperson, Donald Trump, who knows how to build jobs. On the other side, we have a career politician that’s never created a job in her life,” referring to leading Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.

Scott added Trump “wants to build up our military, secure our borders, destroy ISIS,” referring to the Islamic State militant and terrorist group. “Hillary Clinton is not focused on securing our borders, has never been focused on building our military, and had a chance on destroying ISIS and failed.”

Scott was briefly mentioned as a vice-presidential choice, a story he swiftly swatted down. “I’m going to stay in this job and finish this job,” he said earlier this month.

When asked about Republican stars like former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan withholding support for the real estate mogul-turned-reality TV star, Scott said to “focus on November.”

“I mean, if you look at what’s happened in the last eight years, with Barack Obama in the White House, look at taxes, the regulations,” Scott said. “He’s made it very difficult to do business in this country. We need somebody who’s going to focus on jobs. You can’t build up your military if you don’t build up more jobs.”

All three of the other statewide officials: Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam – all Republicans have said they will support Trump if he clinches the party’s nomination at July’s convention in Cleveland.

Trump now has 1,068 of the 1,237 needed to win, according to the Real Clear Politics delegate tracker. Clinton has 2,228 of the 2,382 she needs. Primary voters in West Virginia and Nebraska go to the polls today.

“People need to focus on what’s important right now: We have to win,” Scott added. “We can’t have another four years where our taxes are going up; there’s inflation. Think about this state. We deal with federal overreach all the time. They tell us how to do our job. We ought to be able to make decisions on our own.”

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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