When Donald Trump’s time in office comes to an end four to eight years from now, it probably won’t be said that he made life easier for his fellow Republicans — at least not the men and women on Capitol Hill. One needs to look no further than South Carolina’s own Congressional delegation to see they don’t always see eye to eye with The Donald.
Just last week, U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-Charleston) let it be known that he very much wants to see Trump’s tax returns, in clear opposition to the PEOTUS’ assertion that no one other than reporters want to get their grubby hands on the documents.
And then there’s Trump’s ongoing feud with one-time Republican presidential candidate and Central, S.C., native Lindsey Graham. Trump couldn’t resist mocking Sen. Graham’s poor presidential polling numbers during last week’s press conference in which the PEOTUS manipulated the media as successfully as Lucy van Pelt manipulates good ol’ Charlie Brown into trying to kick a football.
Enter Sen. Tim Scott.
The Charleston-born junior senator released a press release earlier this week addressing the outrage vs. outrage fight that had erupted between U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) and PEOTUS Trump.
You know how it all went down by now. The civil rights hero Lewis called The Donald an illegitimate president — thanks to Putin, natch. Trump responded by issuing a tweet bashing Lewis’ credentials and blaming him for the collapsing, crime-ridden woes of that Atlanta cesspool known as Buckhead. Yes, that Buckhead.
Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
This is all nonsense, of course. Russia didn’t hack the election, no matter how many times Huffington Post and MSNBC may say they did; Hillary isn’t president because she had a terrible ground game in the Rust Belt states.
As for any attempt to diminish the courage and dedication of John Lewis, it’s so misguided it’s laughable. The man got his head cracked open on Bloody Sunday, for Pete’s sake.
Clearly, Tim Scott saw the foolishness of both comments, and so he decided to weigh in on the matter.
Which is why on “Fox and Friends” on Monday, Tim Scott let it be known that both Donald Trump and John Lewis were in the wrong, a move that surely ticked off the more rabid sects on either side of the aisle.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 15, 2017
As one of only three African-American senators in the U.S. Senate, what Scott says about these sorts of things matters. Scott has been pulled over for “driving while black” — his admission, not mine — during his time in Congress. He has even been denied entry into the U.S. Capitol building by security because he forgot his ID but was wearing his official Senate pin, a token that only senators posses. To add insult to injury, Scott is one of the most recognizable officials in Washington, a man who is on TV three or four times a week.
The color of Scott’s skin also opens him up to criticism by those in the African-American community who feel that he is a traitor, an Uncle Tom.
Admittedly, Scott did little to distinguish himself when he first entered the Senate — a common practice among newbies not named Rand Paul or Ted Cruz. And he often remained mum when matters of race surfaced and one of his fellow conservatives found himself on the wrong side of history.
But over the last few years, Scott has taken a more high-profile role, even introducing his so-called Opportunity Agenda, a series of acts that are designed to benefit America’s poor and uneducated, whether in the African-American community or not. And unlike both his fellow Democrats and the Republicans, he is the only senator to employ a black chief of staff.
I would be remiss not to note that the Tim Scott of today is far more likely to comment on racial issues, a move that largely occurred after the shooting of Walter Scott and the murder of the Emanuel 9 in Scott’s Holy City hometown.
Even last week, Scott had to respond to a Twitter troll who called him a “house N-word.” In that case, it’s worth noting that Scott shut down the poster with a simple, one-word reply: “Senate.”
— Chris Haire (@CWHaire) January 11, 2017
None of this is to say that Tim Scott is positioning himself to be the next great civil rights hero, right up there with King and Lewis. The senator is far from that. But he is a rarity: a black conservative who ditches the colorblind rhetoric that so many black conservatives espouse.
While he fully believes that the Republican mindset provides a mental roadmap for poor African-Americans to succeed — he’s living proof that it can be — he also knows that escaping the cycle of poverty isn’t as easy as it sounds. After all, his very own mother worked multiple jobs, and yet his family remained impoverished.
More importantly, Tim Scott knows all too well that the lingering effects of America’s greatest sin still remain, and he is not afraid to point this out, even if it he has to call out his party’s leader in the process.
Our great nation has come a long way since the days of slavery and later Jim Crow, but it is still a country where a sitting U.S. senator can be stopped by police for one reason and one reason only: he’s a black man behind the wheel of a car. And because it’s Tim Scott who is talking about his experiences with prejudice, he catches the ear of those who otherwise might not be willing to listen.