Politics & Government

Gov. Rick Scott steps in it: ’I’ve never shot an elephant gaffe with Spanish king caught on video (with video)

Gov. Rick Scott became a punchline in Spain this week after a televised gaffe with the King of Spain, who’s reeling from an elephant-shooting scandal.

"I’ve ridden elephants, I’ve never tried to shoot one," Scott said smiling as he walked in and shook the hand of King Juan Carlos.

The king seemed to freeze and mumble "Oh."

You can’t blame him.

The 74-year-old monarch was pilloried for hunting elephants in Botswana, where he injured his hip. Spaniards were infuriated because the king took such an expensive hunting trip at a time when the country is in such dire economic straits. About one in four Spaniards are unemployed. Also, Juan Carlos is an honorary president of Spain’s branch of the World Wildlife Fund.

"I am very sorry. I made a mistake. It won’t happen again,” the King said in an apology when he left a Madrid hospital in crutches.

Enter Scott

Not only did the governor start with the I’ve-never-shot-an-elephant ice-breaker, Scott then continued to talk about elephants and Botswana after he introduced his wife, Ann, to the king.

“We were in Botswana,” Scott says. “And we were in the Jeep. And an elephant started to chase the Jeep. My wife was in the back part of the Jeep and she wanted to get out to the front of the Jeep.”

The king laughed nervously and....

Cut! The video stops.

But the laughter began. Newspapers nationwide and late-night Spanish television made Scott’s elephant story a topic of uproarious laughter.

This wasn’t the first time that the Spanish king has had an awkward moment with a Florida governor. Scott’s predecessor, Charlie Crist, feted Juan Carlos at a royal dinner as part of a food-and-wine fest at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

But Crist isn’t a big eater. And he’s not known for long talks about foreign policy

So Crist and his wife, Carole, left before dinner was over and left Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia sitting next to empty seats — a protocol no-no.

Scott’s trip to Spain comes on the cusp of the 500th year anniversary of the Spanish discovery of Florida in 1513. If only Ponce de Leon knew the future.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/24/2815377/gov-rick-scotts-ive-never-shot.html#storylink=cpy