Scott walks away when asked about Trump plan to end birthright citizenship

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who’s competing in a closely watched Senate race, ignored a reporter’s question on Tuesday about whether he supports President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE’s proposal to end birthright citizenship.

When a reporter from The Miami Herald asked Scott at a Tuesday press conference about Trump’s announcement that he planned to issue an executive order on the 14th Amendment, Scott walked away without answering the question.

An aide to Scott said that the governor had already begun walking away when the question was posed and did not hear the reporter ask it.

ADVERTISEMENT
In a statement issued shortly after the encounter, Scott, who’s locked in a tight battle against Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups How Jim Bridenstine recruited an old enemy to advise NASA MORE (D-Fla.), said that he would need to see the president’s proposal before deciding whether to support it.

“I believe legal immigration makes us a better and stronger country, but illegal immigration does the opposite. I have not seen the details of what the president is suggesting and would need to fully review the proposal,” Scott said in a statement provided to The Hill.

“While I’ve been clear that Florida is a great melting pot, America’s immigration system is broken and Congress — including Senator Nelson — has done nothing to fix the problem. My priorities continue to be securing the border and fixing the long-broken immigration system.”

In an interview with Axios released earlier Tuesday, Trump said that he is planning to sign an executive order doing away with birthright citizenship for the children of non-U.S. citizens born in the country. The controversial proposal comes one week out from the pivotal midterm elections.

Legal scholars and politicians were quick to point out that the president’s proposal appears to violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which holds that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Vice President Pence defended Trump’s proposal, telling Politico in an interview that the Supreme Court has never ruled on whether the 14th Amendment's protections extend to people who enter the U.S. without authorization.

“We all cherish the language of the 14th Amendment, but the Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language in the 14th Amendment, ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof,’ applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally,” he said.

But a number of Republicans, including House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOcasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump MORE (Wis.), are pushing back on Trump’s claims that he can eliminate birthright citizenship unilaterally.

"Well, you obviously cannot do that. You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order," Ryan told Lexington, Ky., radio station WVLK on Tuesday.

"We didn’t like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action, and obviously as conservatives, we believe in the Constitution."

Scott and Nelson are competing in one of the most competitive and costly Senate races this cycle. Democrats are defending 10 seats in states where Trump won in 2016, including Florida.

Polls show the race is remains a dead heat in the final week, with Nelson narrowly leading in the most recent public survey.

—Updated at 4:39 p.m.