CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Tim Scott is aware of the trouble that comes with being each black and conservative. Not too long ago “The View” host Sunny Hostin mentioned that being a black Republican is an oxymoron, and Scott, who’s the one black Republican within the US senate, simply shook his head.
“The feedback are ridiculous,” he mentioned.
The GOP has “championed causes for underserved communities and minority communities which have been actually hammered beneath President Biden,” he mentioned, earlier than pointing to rising inflation and the way the common particular person can barely afford to place fuel within the automotive, use vitality of their home, pay for his or her well being care and deal with every other bills.
“Distinction that in opposition to what occurred once we have been within the majority for 2016 to 2020, the place we noticed African American unemployment go to the bottom stage ever recorded within the historical past of the nation,” he mentioned.
“The one query I’ve for these pundits on TV is why aren’t they conservative?” he requested.
Tim Scott’s title is within the high tier of these being talked about as potential Republican presidential candidates in 2024, together with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence and former President Donald Trump.
So is he planning to run in 2024? He’s not saying, however he admits he will get requested that rather a lot.
“I don’t suppose that there’s a day that goes by that I haven’t been requested for the final two months. However I maintain telling folks the presidency of my home-owner affiliation shouldn’t be open for one more two years,” he jokes.
No matter occurs, religion will information his alternative. “It will likely be the genesis of that call,” he mentioned.
The Seacoast Church in close by Mount Nice is “essentially the most highly effective drive in my grownup life,” added Scott of the Christian congregation that had lower than 1,000 members when he joined in 1997 and now boasts over 25,000.
Regardless of having risen to change into essentially the most distinguished elected black Republican within the nation, Tim Scott has by no means forgotten the place he got here from. After his dad and mom separated when he was a baby, he grew up sharing a single bed room together with his mom and older brother in North Charleston.
His dwelling — which was little greater than a shack — was situated on a mud highway. Scott mentioned his mom labored double shifts as a nursing assistant at a Charleston hospital, and his grandfather left faculty in third grade to select cotton. Despite the fact that he was illiterate, his grandfather would maintain up the newspaper to “learn” in entrance of his younger grandsons simply to instill the significance of information and schooling in them.
“My grandfather … had a ardour for progress that was palpable,” Scott mentioned.
“My grandmother who cleaned homes taught me the significance of a piece ethic and particular person duty, and my mother, who’s my true final American hero … she taught me the dignity of labor.”
“But all three of them have been all the time laughing and joyful, even within the midst of poverty as if to recommend that your circumstances don’t decide your final result. There’s one thing on the within of you that’s extra highly effective than the circumstances round you and that basically is the idea of my joyful warrior strategy,” mentioned Scott, 56, who shouldn’t be married and has no youngsters of his personal.
“The one factor all three of these highly effective folks had in frequent was the significance of religion. Via religion, all issues have been potential.”
Nothing stays of the place his household referred to as dwelling besides the filth and gravel from the previous highway, however poverty nonetheless stays within the neighborhood — and the crime that goes together with it. Which is why Scott mentioned he all the time retains his thoughts on “individuals who reside on the perimeters.”
“Not simply because I’m black however as a result of [of] my lived expertise as an individual in poverty, residing paycheck to paycheck. Coming dwelling and the cellphone not working. Coming dwelling and the electrical energy shouldn’t be all the time on, coming dwelling and generally being hungry with no meals coming that night time.
“That have … is now one of many the explanation why I combat the way in which I do for folks residing in robust communities. I don’t actually care whether or not you’re a white particular person in rural South Carolina or whether or not you might be somebody residing on the border in Texas, a Hispanic, or somebody residing … in one of many inside cities and also you’re black,” he mentioned.
Each day, he asks himself, is the American dream actual for him? “After which I put myself in these totally different footwear in order that I do know that the reply is sure. And that’s my duty.”
Scott admits he struggled in highschool however his life took a flip for the higher when he met John Moniz — an Air Drive veteran who owned the Chick-fil-A restaurant throughout from the movie show the place Scott labored as a excessive schooler. Moniz grew to become an instantaneous mentor.
Scott attended faculty, ran and gained a seat on the Charleston County Council, misplaced a state Senate seat, briefly thought-about turning into a minister, and finally gained a state Home seat in 2008. He toyed with the concept of working for lieutenant governor in 2010 solely to alter his thoughts and run and win the Home seat in the identical congressional district the place the Civil Struggle started.
Two years later then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to switch retiring Sen. Jim DeMint, making him the primary black US senator from South Carolina. He ran and gained the seat for the complete time period in 2016 and is in search of reelection to the Senate this 12 months. In 2019, he mentioned this may be his final run for the Senate workplace.
His longtime pal and fellow conservative Maurice Washington — the primary black chair of the Charleston County Republican Occasion — mentioned that if Scott ran for president he would carry a extra worldly perspective to the White Home.
“He has seen one of the best facet and the worst facet of America and he might converse to that with authority and expertise,” mentioned Washington.
“And the truth that he brings such a grassroots background into politics beginning at a county council stage, then to the state Home stage, then to Home and Senate, that’s a reasonably spectacular resume. He’s the complete package deal: clear-eyed, clear head, likable man, scandal-free. I feel on the proper second, he would make a superb presidential candidate. Extra importantly, he would make a superb president.”
Scott now sees himself as a mentor — like John Moniz was to him — for different younger folks with untapped potential.
“My mission assertion is to positively affect the lives of a billion folks with a message of open alternative,” Scott mentioned.
As for being the one black Republican within the US Senate, Scott deadpans, “Let’s not overlook that the Democrats solely have two black senators. Let’s not faux our margins are drastically totally different.”