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Sen. Rick Scott
Sen. Rick Scott speaks during the Senate Republicans news conference in the Capitol on Nov. 30, 2021.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, file

The Americans whom Rick Scott sees as ‘the enemy within’

When prominent U.S. politicians start referring to Americans as “the enemy,” look out.


Just a few days after unveiling his controversial policy blueprint, Republican Sen. Rick Scott appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and reflected on the greatest threats to the United States. Ordinarily, senators might point to adversarial foreign government or terrorists networks, but the GOP Floridian pointed in a very different direction.

“We survived the war of 1812, Civil War, World War I and World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War,” Scott told CPAC attendees. “Today, we face the greatest danger we have ever faced: The militant left-wing in our country has become the enemy within.”

The Republican seemed to realize this was provocative, but shrugged off potential criticisms. “You may think, ‘Well, Rick, that’s pretty dramatic. You call them the enemy within?’ Yes, I am,” Scott added. “The woke left now controls the Democrat [sic] Party, the entire federal government, the news media, academia, big tech, Hollywood, most corporate boardrooms, and now even some of our top military leaders.”

Last week, as HuffPost noted, the Floridian took an identical message to the Heritage Foundation.

“We survived the War of 1812, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War. But now today we face the greatest danger we’ve ever faced. The militant left wing in our country has become the enemy within,” Scott said.

Note, when Scott, who currently leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, refers to the nation’s “militant left wing,” he’s not talking about random extremists with bats, posting to antifa forums. The GOP senator is referring to Democratic leaders, journalists, schools, tech executives, entertainers, corporate leaders, and “even some” in the U.S. military.

Collectively, according to this Senate Republican leader, these Americans represent a threat to the United States. In fact, these Americans represent “the greatest danger” in the history of the United States.

As a rule, when prominent U.S. politicians start referring to Americans as “the enemy,” it’s cause for alarm.

It’s one thing to think of political foes as rivals, opponents, or competitors. Each of these labels implicitly recognizes that the foes are your fellow citizens, worthy of some modicum of respect.

But “the enemy” is a qualitatively different kind of label.

The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein added last week, “If you keep telling your voters the other party is literally a mortal threat to the country, it should not be surprising that some will take that literally and plot to kidnap a governor, physically threaten public health and election officials, or storm the Capitol to hang the vice president.”