South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott has used the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s address to Congress to vow that “America is not a racist country.”
via: USA Today
The 15-minute speech by Scott, the only African American Republican in the Senate, comes at a pivotal moment for the GOP as they are looking to find holes in Biden’s initial popularity while chipping away at Democrats’ narrow majorities in Washington.
Biden didn’t shy away from discussing the open wounds in the country in terms of racism, saying the greatest threat to the homeland is white supremacy.
Scott didn’t downplay the country’s racial and ethnic differences, but said Democrats ignore the country’s strides over the past century for political and financial gain.
“Hear me clearly,” he said. “America is not a racist country.”
Scott used the GOP rebuttal to continue a theme he started earlier in the week about how there is unity in the country’s diversity, claiming that Republicans have supported policies that have reformed the criminal justice system and opened the economy to all Americans regardless of race.
“Just before COVID, we had the most inclusive economy in my lifetime,” he said
“The lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians, and a 70 year low nearly for women. Wages were growing faster for the bottom 25% than the top 25%. That happened because Republicans focused on expanding opportunity for all Americans.”
Republicans controlled Washington in May 2018 when the African American unemployment rate dipped to 5.9%, for instance.
That was the lowest recorded rate by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics since 1972, but Democrats and fact-checkers contend that trend began under former President Barack Obama.
Scott being chosen as the lawmaker responding to the president comes at a critical time for the country and the South Carolina senator, who is in the spotlight as the lead GOP negotiator for a proposal to overhaul police procedures.
Congress is currently grappling with how to best revamp law enforcement in the wake of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict, and after months of protests demanding police department funding be diverted to other agencies in response to controversial police shootings.
As the debate about how police treat Black Americans has raged in the streets and halls of Capitol Hill, Scott has caught attention in recent years for Senate speeches where he has described troubling interactions with law enforcement.
He has talked publicly about being racially profiled, such as being threatened and disrespected by police during traffic stops. He most famously described being stopped by U.S. Capitol security as an elected official — even while wearing his official pin — as recently as 2019.
The 55-year-old Republican made that point again during his response to the president’s address.
“I have experienced the pain of discrimination,” Scott said while looking at the camera. “I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason and to be followed around a store while I’m shopping.”
Scott said past efforts at police reform have either been blocked or ignored by Democrats, but that he hopes this time will be different. He emphasized how even after his experiences he believes “brave police officers in Black neighborhoods” shouldn’t be viewed as enemies.
Y'all ready? pic.twitter.com/nbXkfw549Q
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) April 29, 2021
"I get called Uncle Tom and the N word by progressives…I know firsthand, our healing is not finished," Sen. Tim Scott says in GOP rebuttal of President Biden's address to Congress, adding later, "Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country." pic.twitter.com/EOet8AriSb
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 29, 2021
Scott ended his speech with “We are not adversaries, We are family.” Maybe Tim doesn’t watch the news.