WASHINGTON – When there is a crisis in Florida there is always one thing you can count on: Gov. Rick Scott in his trademark Navy hat.Â
The Republican governor of Florida, who is running for Senate against incumbentÂ Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, always seems to have handy the dark-blue cap emblazoned withÂ “NAVY” on theÂ front. It’sÂ madeÂ its way to campaignÂ events for years and gracedÂ televisionÂ screens this week as millions across the nation watched Scott give updates onÂ Hurricane Michael’s devastationÂ in the Panhandle.
But now, the hat is being used as a target on Scott’s record when it comes to veterans and health care.
An ad by VoteVets, a left-leaning veterans group, rips the governor’s former life as head of the nation’s largestÂ privateÂ hospitalÂ chain.
“I see Rick Scott wearing that Navy hat everywhere he goes but let me tell you what he did to veterans,” Alan Madison, a Navy veteran opens the 30-second ad.Â
Under Scott’s tenure asÂ CEO of Columbia/HCA, the for-profit company wasÂ fined $1.7 billionÂ for defrauding millions from Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, a military health care program, the company’s settlement with the Justice Department states.Â
The ad specifically targets the defrauding of the military’s health care and his pleading of the Fifth Amendment during a civil case about the matter. It even includes decades-old footage from Scott being deposed under oath.Â
More: Florida Senate race: Rick Scottâ€™s tough childhood taught him jobs â€” not government programs â€” create opportunity
More: Florida Gov. Rick Scott: 10 notable legacies of the Republican during eight years in office
More: Florida Sen. Bill Nelson: Noble career or career politician?
“Today, he’s worth $200 million bucks. For veterans like me, we got cheated,”Â Madison says in the ad.Â
Scott did serve in the Navy. He was enlisted for 29 months and ended his service as a radar technician, according to the Tampa Bay Times.Â Scott’s campaign, in a statement to the Times, responded to the ad with statements from veterans sticking up for his record ofÂ help to veterans as governor.Â
The ad, which is slated to run for 10 days across the state, ends with a question.Â
“Governor, this hat represents what the Navy stands for: Honor, integrity,” Madison says, pointing to his dark blue Navy hat and peering into the camera. “My question for you, sir? Where’s yours?”