VPR Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
VPR News
Explore our coverage of government and politics.

Phil Scott Mounts Pre-Primary Offensive Against Donald Trump

On the eve of the presidential primary in Vermont, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott issued some harsh words for the Republican candidate who, according to a recent VPR poll, seems to be holding the most sway with GOP voters here.

Scott didn’t mention Donald Trump by name, but his statement clearly was directed at the New York real estate mogul leading the Republican field.

"As Vermonters know, I believe in treating everyone with respect and civility,” Scott said in a campaign email. “For that reason alone, I cannot support someone who exploits fear for political gain, mocks people with disabilities; attacks journalists who ask difficult questions, makes sexist, racist and other hateful comments, or who is willing to overlook the truth if it doesn't work to their advantage.”

Scott, who is running for governor as a Republican, threw his support behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio last week. He reiterated who he’ll be voting for in his statement Monday night, though it wasn’t exactly a full-throated endorsement.

“It's not a perfect choice for me personally or politically, but it's the choice I am making because it reflects my hope for a thoughtful, civil debate about the challenges and opportunities we have ahead,” Scott said.

Not a perfect choice politically, perhaps, because of a staunchly pro-life record from Rubio that has included repeated calls to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Last week, after Scott and about two dozen Vermont Republican legislators offered their support to Rubio, Democratic officials pounced. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter issue a statement spotlighting Rubio’s pro-life record, saying “he is so extreme that members of his own party have attacked him for his anti-choice position.”

“Vermont needs a governor who will protect a woman’s right to choose and access to quality health care by supporting Planned Parenthood,” Minter said in a statement.

For now at least, Scott is focusing far more on his distaste for Trump than his support for Rubio.

"It matters to me, and I believe many Vermonters, that presidential candidates in both parties meet a certain standard of decorum,” Scott said in his statement. “Even when we disagree on important issues, I want to know they value the diversity of our nation and the diversity within the political parties themselves.”

According a VPR poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute, Trump is the most popular candidate among Vermont voters in the crowded GOP field.

Related Content