Florida Gov. Rick Scott found himself in a PR nightmare after he blindsided Miami Republicans on Tuesday.
Scott signed a bill banning local governments from hiring firms that do work in Cuba and Syria, then declared the bill unenforceable, according to Reuters.
"We believe in freedom. That's why we have bills like this," Scott said at a bill-signing ceremony at Miami's Freedom Tower.
But in a signing statement to the Florida Department of State, Scott wrote that the law "will not go into effect unless and until Congress passes, and President Obama signs, a law permitting states to independently impose such sanctions against Cuba and Syria." He failed to mention this caveat at the ceremony.
Cuban-American lawmakers cheered the governor for putting economic pressure on the oppressive dictatorships, but became disappointed and angry when they learned the legislation won't take effect July 1 as scheduled, the Miami Herald reports.
U.S. Rep. David Rivera (R-Fl.), who was recently the subject of a yearlong ethics probe, even threatened to sue Scott for passing the buck to Obama.
"As a Florida taxpayer who does not want my tax dollars going to companies that do business with terrorist regimes, I am more than willing to sue the governor and the state of Florida to force implementation of this law," he said. "I'm sure the governor has been misled by his staff and hope he will reconsider his position so that it does not result in a lawsuit."
It was not the first time this week that Scott butted heads with his fellow Florida lawmakers. Wednesday he will reject a plea from Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn to ban concealed weapons at the Republican National Convention in August.