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SC's Tim Scott mixes message of unity with attacks during GOP response to Biden speech

Emily Bohatch, The State on

Published in Political News

“He is the heavy favorite to get reelected in 2022, but the national exposure has a number of benefits,” Knotts said. “It will help stave off competitors and will also help with fundraising.”

Knotts called Scott a “mainstream Republican,” adding that he operates in the realm of politics much differently than former President Donald Trump.

“He’s much more collaborative and has shown a willingness to speak out against Trump, particularly on issues of race,” Knotts said.

Scott has frequently been outspoken on his own experiences as a Black man, especially when it comes to encounters with police officers. As the only Black Republican in the Senate, he is uniquely situated to do so.

Scott revisited the topic during his speech Wednesday night, recounting being pulled over by police “for no reason” and getting followed while shopping at a store.

“Nowhere do we need common ground more than in our discussion of race,” Scott said, accusing Democrats and progressives of weaponizing race.

“From colleges to corporations to our culture, people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven’t made any progress. By doubling down on the divisions we’ve worked so hard to heal,” he said.

“You know this stuff is wrong. Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country. It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination. And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present,” he said.

 

Scott, however, struck out at Democrats for not working with him to pass his policing reform package in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died after police officer Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck. Chauvin was convicted by a jury of murder and manslaughter charges. Democrats used the filibuster to delay the debate on the package, calling it inadequate.

“My friends across the aisle seemed to want the issue more than they wanted a solution,” Scott said.

“Race is not a political weapon to settle every issue the way one side wants,” he later added.

Scott’s speech was a stark contrast from Biden’s, televised only a half hour before.

In his speech, Biden celebrated his administration’s accomplishments over the last 100 days when it comes to their COVID-19 response. Biden outlined his priorities going forward, and he specifically promoted his wide-reaching, $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which would cover improvements ranging from expanding broadband access to combating climate change through promoting clean energy. Throughout the speech, Biden refrained from calling out specific Republicans and used softer language when calling them out for not working with their Democratic counterparts.

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