WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Sen. Rick Scott has fired back at a comment Gov. Ron DeSantis made about the state’s troubled unemployment system.
In a one-on-one interview with CBS4’s Jim DeFede, which was DeSantis’ first sit-down interview since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the governor said it looked like it was designed to frustrate users.
“I mean having studied how it was internally constructed, I think the goal was for whoever designed, it was, ‘Let’s put as many kind of pointless roadblocks along the way, so people just say, oh, the hell with it, I’m not going to do that’,” said DeSantis. “And, you know, for me, let’s decide on what the benefit is and let’s get it out as efficiently as possible. You know, we shouldn’t necessarily do these roadblocks to do it. So we have cleared a lot of those.”
DeFede then pointed out that the system was designed and implemented during the Scott administration. He then asked DeSantis if he thought it was Scott’s intention to discourage people from applying for benefits.
“I’m not sure if it was his, but I think definitely in terms of how it was internally constructed, you know. It was definitely done in a way to lead to the least number of claims being paid out,” said DeSantis.
WATCH CBS4 EXCLUSIVE: Jim DeFede’s Full 1-On-1 Interview With Gov. Ron DeSantis
On Wednesday, Scott was asked about DeSantis’ comment that the system was set up with “pointless roadblocks.”
“You know look it’s tough to be, you know, in its politics, you know. Some people, you know, they take responsibility. Some people just blame others. This is a tough time to be governor. You know there’s no unemployment system in the country that’s set up for this unprecedented number of new people applying for unemployment, then the 600 dollars, then adding the gig workers. And so I know Ken Lawson was responsible for it when it started and I know he’s working hard,” said Scott.
In April, DeSantis put the Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter in charge of the troubled CONNECT online unemployment system, taking over from the Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson.