WASHINGTON — Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign fundraising arm, has derided members of his own party who have expressed disdain for their midterm election candidates.
In an op-ed published Thursday in the conservative news site Washington Examiner, Scott wrote that "many of the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle are now trying to stop us from winning the majority this time by trash-talking our Republican candidates."
"It’s an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it’s treasonous to the conservative cause," the Florida senator wrote, adding that giving anonymous quotes to outlets such as The New York Times or The Washington Post critical of Republicans is analogous to working for Democrats.
While Scott didn’t mention names in his op-ed, it appeared to be aimed at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. At a luncheon in his state, McConnell recently downplayed expectations of Republicans capturing control of the Senate in November, describing "candidate quality" as an important factor.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different — they're statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” he said last month.
Asked pointedly Thursday morning on Fox News Radio about McConnell's remarks, an indignant Scott responded: "It’s a shot at our candidates and the voters."
"I clearly disagree with what he said," Scott said. "We both agree we want to get the majority."
While he vowed they can still win control of the Senate this fall, Scott said that Republicans "need more money."
He predicted that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would "have a big win." He said Republican nominee in Pennsylvania "Mehmet Oz is still down a little bit, but slightly." And Scott said he is in Georgia on Thursday raising money for GOP candidate Herschel Walker, calling him "a great guy" running "a good race," which he said is "real close" in polls.
Scott used the word "Marxist" to describe the Democratic nominees in Pennsylvania, John Fetterman, and in Georgia, Sen. Raphael Warnock.
In his op-ed, Scott defended the field of GOP candidates running in the 2022 election cycle, calling himself a “cheerleader” for all the party's contenders and arguing that they have “incredible backgrounds and ideas” to improve the country.
But, he said, “when you complain and lament that we have ‘bad candidates,’ what you are really saying is that you have contempt for the voters who chose them.”
Any Republican who wants to criticize fellow candidates to help Democrats should “pipe down,” Scott added.
Republicans have nominated multiple first-time candidates backed by former President Donald Trump in battleground states, such as Georgia, Arizona and Ohio, to run against seasoned Democratic politicians. The party needs a net gain of just one seat in the Senate to seize control of the chamber.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com