Gov. Scott on Zika preparedness: 'We need a federal partner'

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 2, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DAGEN MCDOWELL, GUEST HOST: A new Zika scare in America, as Washington fails to act.

Florida's governor says we can't afford to wait. He is asking the president and Congress to take action now before it's too late.

Governor Rick Scott joins me now.

Governor, good to see you. What do -- what does the state need right now in terms of funding and goods to attack a potential Zika outbreak in Florida?


Well, Dagen, we're blessed right now. We don't have -- we only have travel-related cases, but we have got the most. But let think about this.  We know Zika is not going to go on vacation. The CDC says we're just a few weeks away. Congress goes on vacation. We can't go on vacation.

If you look at what is happening in Brazil and Puerto Rico, look, we already have a case of a child born with the side effects of Zika up in the Northeast. So we have got to get prepared.

Now, here's what we have already done. We have been working with the CDC, our Department of Health, our mosquito boards. But I have asked the president, because Congress has failed to act, which is very disappointing, I have said, we need insecticide.

We need money for personnel. We need protective gear. We need communication help. We have got -- this -- we have got to treat this like we treat a hurricane. You get prepared before it happens. You don't wait until after it happens.

And then on top of that, I need a plan from FEMA, how are they going to deal with this after the fact? But in Florida, we're going to do everything we can to get prepared, but we need a federal partner.

MCDOWELL: But, Governor, do you not have the money yourself in the state coffers to take care of this at this point?

SCOTT: Well, here's what -- well, we're spending money now already, Dagen, but this is a national issue. This is not just affecting Florida.

We -- our Department of Health is spending money. Our county health departments are spending money. Our counties are spending money. Our mosquito boards are spending money to get prepared.

But with the Olympics coming up, our hurricane season started yesterday, with the heat, we are going to see more mosquitoes, we're going to have more rain. This is a national issue. Now, in Florida, we know how to get prepared, but we do rely on a federal partner to be supportive.

MCDOWELL: Are you being too alarmist, though? Because your warning is kind of frightening, given the fact that we haven't had an infection here in the United States from someone being bitten by a mosquito that has the Zika virus yet.

SCOTT: Well, Dagen, you're right. We only have travel-related cases so far.

But we have watched what is happening in Brazil. We have watched what is happening in Puerto Rico. We can't get behind. So, we need to be -- we need to prepare, just like we prepare for a hurricane. So we need to be ready. We need to -- issues with regard to making sure we have lab capabilities, all these things.

You can't wait, because once it happens, then it can explode. So, we're going to do everything we can, but the president needs to do his part, and I'm very disappointed Congress has failed to act before they went on vacation.

MCDOWELL: How quickly do you think that they can act?

SCOTT: It's now.

The CDC has said this could happen in the next few weeks. We continue to have so many people traveling to Latin America. We have, all over our country, but especially Florida, people coming from Puerto Rico. And only 20 percent of the cases show symptoms or individuals show symptoms.

So we don't know actually how many people have Zika. So, we're going to do our part, but they -- the federal -- the Obama administration needs to be a partner. They have funding. I sat down with both members of Congress back in May and with -- Sylvia Burwell, the secretary of HHS.

Told them exactly what our needs are. They need to fulfill our needs now.

MCDOWELL: Governor, quickly, I want to get to shift gears, get your reaction to House Speaker Paul Ryan coming out and saying he will vote for Donald Trump. He told the AP: "My goal is to make sure we're unified before the fall."

What do you say?

SCOTT: Well, I think that's great. We need to unify.

And, look, it's a clear choice. We have a businessman who is an outsider in Donald Trump, who wants to build our military, secure our borders, destroy ISIS. And we have got a career politician, it looks like, on the other side, Hillary Clinton, who had her shot.

She didn't destroy ISIS. She doesn't care about building our military or defending our borders. So it's a clear choice. We have got to be unified to make sure we have a big win in November.

MCDOWELL: Can you get more of the Republican governors to the convention? was reporting that there are a number of prominent Republicans who aren't going to be there. Are you on the phone?

SCOTT: Well, in 20 -- I will give you my story.

In 2010, I did not have the Republican endorsements. The establishment did not support me, and I won the race because I went after the voters. That's what Donald Trump is going to be doing. He's going to go after the voters.

But all of us who care about the direction of this country, we need to be supporting Donald Trump. I talk to individuals all over the country about why I support Donald Trump. We need to win. I think he's going to -- I predict he is going to have a big win both in Florida and nationally.

But I think it's great that Paul Ryan has finally come on board. We need to unite this party.

MCDOWELL: Have you talked to Trump, Governor?

SCOTT: Oh, absolutely.

MCDOWELL: When? How recently?

SCOTT: I talked to him on, like, last Thursday or Friday.

The -- what my goal is, I can have hopefully a positive impact on how he wins Florida. And my focus is, how do I make sure I can help him win the state of Florida? It's very significant to win.

He can win this state. He should win this state. I won both times. And - - but you have got to work at it. You have got to go out there and make sure you get the votes. Tell your story. It's still about jobs.

That's why I think Donald Trump is going to have a big win, because he is a businessperson that knows how to create jobs vs. Hillary Clinton, who has never created a job in her life and has had -- has been a career politician and has never focused on job creation.

MCDOWELL: Governor, great to see you, Governor Rick Scott from Florida.  Take care.

SCOTT: Nice seeing you, Dagen. Have a good day.

MCDOWELL: Take care. You as well.

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