As a GOP governor of Florida, one might think that Rick Scott would know how to deal with elephants. That's apparently not the case.
Scott met with King Juan Carlos of Spain this week during his economic development mission and immediately managed to bring up the uncomfortable topic of the monarch's disastrous elephant hunting trip to Botswana last month.
Here's video of his royal greeting:
"I still want to hear -- I've ridden elephants, I've never tried to shoot one," Scott says, with a grin and a handshake.
If Scott thought he was simply embarking on a conversation between two powerful men about shooting large animals for fun, he was wrong. As the Crowley Political Report points out, it's unlikely that King Juan Carlos had much interest in making this a centerpiece of their discussion.
The king, who also serves as honorary president of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund, took off on the hunting safari last month. His son-in-law already under scrutiny as a suspect in a corruption case, Spanish media pounced on Juan Carlos for taking the lavish vacation amid the nation's widespread economic woes. Some reports placed the price-tag of the trip at over twice Spain's average annual salary. To compound the problem, the king managed to break his hip while on the excursion, an accident that required him to take a private jet back to Spain to receive hip replacement surgery.
Under heavy fire and licking his wounds, Juan Carlos attempted to repair the damage and beat back a story that had quickly surged to the forefront of Spanish news. The Associated Press reports:
In an unprecedented act of royal contrition, Spain's king apologized Wednesday for having gone elephant-hunting in Africa while everyday people endure a severe economic crisis.
"I am very sorry. I made a mistake. It won't happen again," King Juan Carlos said, trying to placate a rare wave of outrage against him.
And while all of this could make for an awkward discussion about elephants, Scott forged ahead after his introduction, telling the king about his own trip to Botswana, where one of the massive pachyderms apparently chased his jeep.
Spanish news was quick to pick up on Scott's cluelessness.