Trump Breaks Silence on Zika, Remains Mum on Federal Funds

The GOP candidate spoke yesterday on Zika response under pressure for comment.

"I would say that it's up to Rick Scott,” Trump told CBS affiliate WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida. “It depends on what he's looking to do. Because he really seems to have it under control in Florida."

Trump’s comments came amid the Obama Administration’s urgent warning to Congress yesterday that the country’s response to Zika would be impaired without more funding. The Republican nominee’s comments also suggested he is unfamiliar with the views of the Florida governor, who has been an outspoken critic of federal inaction on Zika.

Scott has rebuked Congress repeatedly since June when lawmakers failed to pass a funding bill that fell about $800 million short of the administration’s request. He accused Congress and President Obama of placing politics above the health and safety of families, and responded by allocating more than $26 million in state funds to Zika measures.

The governor vowed yesterday that Florida would continue applying state resources as necessary, but repeated his disappointment to the federal response.

“Congress went on recess. The president and Congress have not worked together to help us,” Scott told CNBC. “They should be helping us with paying for things like mosquito spray, testing, things like that.”

Trump’s comments came after members of both parties called on him to take a position on the problem.

“If you look at what Donald Trump has said on Zika, it's kind of crickets, it's like nothing," Kaine said Tuesday at a rally in Daytona Beach, Florida. Kaine also called for Congress to convene an emergency session on funding.

Trump said he was monitoring the developing situation in Florida, which has begun spraying insecticide to eradicate mosquitoes, and praised the governor’s response to date.

“You have a great governor who's doing a fantastic job--Rick Scott--on the Zika,” he told WPEC. “He's letting everyone know exactly what the problem is and how to get rid of it. He's going to have it under control. He probably already does.”