Students from Marjory Stoneman high school traveled to Gov. Rick Scott’s office today to demand a meeting. MSNBC had a camera in the room and reported that the students had been told the Governor was too busy to meet with them:
This message was repeated by MSNBC host Ali Velshi and retweeted thousands of times:
BREAKING: students are in the waiting area of FL Gov. Rick Scott’s office – after being told he’s too busy to meet with them – chanting “shame on you!”
— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) February 21, 2018
A little later on, Fox News aired footage of the students chanting “Where’s Rick Scott?” “Students demanding change, demanding action,” Shepard Smith said, adding, “And they’re asking where is Rick Scott.”
Happening Now: Students chant 'Where is Rick Scott? Where is Rick Scott?' inside Florida statehouse. pic.twitter.com/TFtlLd93tU
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 21, 2018
So where was Rick Scott? It turns out he was attending a funeral for one of the victims and had already agreed to meet with students upon his return. From the Hill:
A spokeswoman for Scott’s office confirmed to The Hill that protesters delivered a petition and demanded an audience with Scott, who was not in the office at the time. The protesters represented students calling for stricter gun control following the high school shooting in South Florida last week.
Scott’s office confirmed to The Hill that the governor on Wednesday attended a funeral for one of the 17 people killed in last Wednesday’s shooting, and plans to meet with groups of student protesters at 5 p.m. upon returning to his office.
Scott’s office said it had earlier in the day publicly posted the governor’s schedule, including the notice of meetings with students later in the day.
The Free Beacon notes that 6 minutes after MSNBC’s Katy Tur claimed Rick Scott’s office had told students he didn’t have time to meet with them, Scott’s office called MSNBC to point out that he was a) at a funeral and b) had agreed to meet with them at 5pm:
Six minutes later, Tur said Scott’s office had called MSNBC to tell them he would be meeting with small groups of Parkland students for 20 minutes each at 5 p.m.
“Right now, he is not in the office. He is at the funeral, I believe, for a student,” Tur said. “That’s why he cannot meet with those kids right now. Obviously, they’re not happy about it. Those kids are still inside that office. They want to be heard. We’ll see if they wait there until 5:00 today.”
Did Rick Scott’s office do an about face here or did MSNBC make a mistake about what the students were told? It’s a little hard to tell, though the Hill story makes it sound as if the plan to meet with students was already on his schedule. In any case, Gov. Scott was at a funeral for Marjory Stoneman high school athletic director Chris Hixon when the students were in his office demanding to know where he was. Here’s a fuller version of the MSNBC/Katy Tur clip pulled by the Free Beacon. Note the person Tur seems to be attributing the claim to is part of the protest group, not a representative from Scott’s office: