The vast majority of the time, it’s best to ignore reporting on where politicians go on vacation. Everyone, including elected officials, deserve to take occasional breaks, and where they travel is between them and their families.
But once in a great while, there are exceptions. Axios published a report yesterday, for example, that raised a few eyebrows.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) is spending part of his congressional recess on a luxury yacht in Italy with his family after criticizing President Biden for vacationing in Delaware, Axios has learned…. NRSC spokesman Chris Hartline did not respond to requests for comment on Monday night after Axios spoke with three sources familiar with aspects of Scott’s itinerary. Upon learning of Axios’ plans to publish, he said: “Sen. Scott took a couple days to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife and family — a trip that was planned more than a year ago.”
Right off the bat, let me state for the record that I don’t especially care where Scott takes trips. The Florida Republican is incredibly wealthy — he’s actually the Senate’s richest member, with a net worth of over a quarter of a billion dollars — and it’s not unusual for incredibly wealthy people to spend time on luxury yachts in Italy. On the surface, there is nothing especially surprising about the news, to the extent that it should be seen as news at all.
But just below the surface, there’s a bit more to it.
There is, for example, some rather brazen hypocrisy. As recently as Monday, the GOP senator publicly mocked President Joe Biden for “vacationing in Delaware” instead of working in the White House. To publish such derivation on Twitter while kicking back on a yacht on the Mediterranean is jarring, even by Republican standards.
There’s also some question as to who owns the yacht that Scott is currently enjoying.
The timing also doesn’t do the senator any favors. Republican leaders are feeling increasing pessimistic about a possible Senate takeover this year — thanks in part to shifting poll and a slate of ridiculous and unqualified candidates — and it doesn’t help when the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee heads for a yacht in Italy as his party struggles.
But even if we put all of this aside, we’re left with a different kind of question: Who leaked this to Axios?
It’s probably fair to say there’s a limited number of people who were familiar with Scott’s travel itinerary, and the list likely includes staffers and other members of the Senate Republican leadership. It seems some folks on this list wanted to make the Floridian look bad.
Scott was already facing a fair amount of intra-party pushback on multiple fronts and it’s hard not to get the impression that some GOP insiders are eager to deliberately undermine him.