Emerge USA Florida Board Member Responds to Trump
Local Muslim leader reacts to Gov. Scott's controversial comments..
LONGWOOD, Fla. —Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott is under fire Thursday night.
During a nationally televised interview, Scott refused to say whether or not he believes all Muslims hate America. Despite being asked multiple times, the governor would not answer the question.
Some local Muslim leaders said they are upset.
"I think Islam hates us," GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said during a recent interview on national television.
Scott was asked to respond to Trump's remarks on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." The governor refused to answer whether he thinks all Muslims hate America, when asked four separate times by his friend, former Florida Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough.
"Do you personally think Islam is a religion that hates America?" Scarborough asked.
"Joe, what I can tell you in our state we have a lot of Muslims that live in our state. We've got a lot of Latin Americans in our state. We all get along," Scott said. "I can tell you, I'm glad everybody's in Florida. The debate is going to be fun tonight."
"He threw Muslims of Florida under the bus today," said Atif Fareed, chairman of the American Muslim Community Center in Longwood.
Wearing an American flag tie, Fareed, a commercial airline pilot, said he feels betrayed by the governor.
"We wanted him to come out strongly and say Muslims of Florida are part of Florida. Let him come and meet us and see how much we love Florida and how much we love the United States of America," Fareed said.
To push back against anti-Muslim sentiment, Fareed recently paid for radio ads that said the following:
"We stand for peace and reiterate our pledge of allegiance to our Constitution and our beloved country."
"If you go to Arlington Cemetery there are crosses and there are crescents," Fareed said.
WESH 2 News political analyst Eddie Fernandez said he thinks the governor didn't want to be seen criticizing Trump, who is a friend, days before Florida's primary.
"I think he didn't want to hurt Donald Trump and didn't want to favor any of the other candidates," Fernandez said.
The governor's office would not comment, but said he'll likely make a statement addressing the controversy. The Democratic National Committee is calling on the governor to recant his remarks.