Rick Scott, Charlie Crist Make Statements on Steven Sotloff Murder
On Tuesday afternoon, news broke over a purported video that surfaced showing South Florida journalist Steven Sotloff being beheaded by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Shortly after the news broke, the two men running for governor of Florida released statements on Sotloff's murder.
Much like the rest of the country, Scott express grief over the murder of Sotloff, as well as anger toward ISIS. He also managed to throw a political jab at President Obama.
"On behalf of Ann and myself, and on behalf of all the people of Florida, we want to convey our sorrow and our condolences to the entire Sotloff family. We cannot begin to understand their grief," Scott said in his statement released to the press.
"The people who did this are evil. They are not merely wrong, they are not adversaries, they are evil. And evil must be confronted and destroyed. In fact, these immoral animals reject the basic code of human morality that crosses all cultures. This is not a political or international disagreement. It is a case of barbarians choosing to set themselves apart from the rest of humanity."
"Here is what they need to understand," Scott's statement goes on to say. "Steve Sotloff was a Floridian, but more importantly he was an American. If you attack one American, you are attacking all Americans. Last week President Obama said that his Administration does not at present have a strategy for dealing with ISIS -- these immoral evil people. I think I can speak for all Floridians and all Americans when I say that the time for a strategy is now, and part of that strategy needs to include destroying them."
For his part, Crist sent out his thoughts on the news via a series of tweets:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sotloff family today.— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) September 2, 2014
This brutal murder of an innocent man who sought to document suffering in the world demonstrates the type of evil we confront.— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) September 2, 2014
We will defeat this evil just as we have time and again throughout our history.— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) September 2, 2014
Sotloff, 31, who was a freelance journalist from Miami who majored in journalism at the University of Central Florida, had first appeared in the video where a member of ISIS murdered and then beheaded American journalist James Foley two weeks ago. In that video, ISIS threatened the U.S. government with Sotloff's life, saying he would be killed next if the U.S. continues to bomb Iraq.
Last week, Sotfloff's mother, Shirley, made a video addressed to ISIS pleading for her son's life.
"I am sending this message to you, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi al-Hussaini, the caliph of the Islamic State," Shirley said in the video. "I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands. You, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you please to release my child. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life.
"As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over," she then added.
Along with Scott and Crist, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson also released a statement, saying, "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Steven Sotloff. Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that's intent on barbaric cruelty."