Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida refused to condemn former president Donald Trump seeming to make a death threat against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
On Friday, Mr Trump criticised Mr McConnell for voting with Democrats on spending legislation.
“Is McConnell approving all of these Trillions of Dollars worth of Democrat sponsored Bills, without even the slightest bit of negotiation, because he hates Donald J Trump, and he knows I am strongly opposed to them, or is he doing it because he believes in the Fake and Highly Destructive Green New Deal, and is willing to take the Country down with him?” the former president wrote on Truth Social.
Mr Trump’s words came as the Senate voted to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open until 16 December, though Mr McConnell opposes the Green New Deal. Mr McConnell voted for the continuing resolution and Mr Scott voted against it.
CNN’s Dana Bash asked Mr Scott, an ally of the former president, about the remarks on Sunday.
“I can never respond to why anyone says what they said, but here’s they way I looked at it is, I think what the president is saying is, you know, there’s been a lot of money spent over the last two years,” he said. “We got to make sure we don’t keep caving into Democrats. It’s caused unbelievable inflation.”
In addition, the former president seemed to make a death threat against Mr McConnell and racist remarks about Mr McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao, who served as transportation secretary until the 6 January riot.
“In any event, either reason is unacceptable. He has a DEATH WISH. Must immediately seek help and advise from his China loving wife, Coco Chow,” Mr Trump said.
But Mr Scott brushed off the remarks about Ms Chao, who was born in Taiwan.
“As you know, the president likes to give people nicknames,” he said. “I’m sure he has a nickname for me. But, you know, here's what I know. We got to watch how we spend our money.”
When Ms Bash pressed him on the nickname being racist.
“It never ever okay to be racist. I think you always have to be careful if you’re in the public eye,” he said. “You want to make sure you're inclusive.”