Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) on Sunday stood by his remark arguing that “America is not a racist country” during his rebuttal to President Biden’s address to Congress last week.
Scott drew backlash from some Democrats in response to his remark that was part of the Republican response to Biden’s address. “Uncle Tim,” a reference to the lead character in the anti-slavery novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” became a trending topic on Twitter for hours after Scott delivered his rebuttal.
“Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country. It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination,” Scott said in his rebuttal to Biden’s address last week. “And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
During an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Scott was pressed on his controversial remark. CBS anchor John Dickerson pointed out that Scott has said that the country’s justice system has broken the spirit of millions of Black Americans, before asking the South Carolina Republican to square that statement with his argument that “America is not a racist country.”
Scott replied by expressing his gratitude for President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Rep. Jim Clyburn (R-SC) for saying that they agree with his remark. While expressing their agreement with Scott’s comments, they also pointed out that more work needs to be done to address the ramifications of the country’s history of racism that are evident to this day.
“Let me say thank goodness that finally our President, our Vice President and one of the leaders in the Democrat caucus in the House, Jim Clyburn, have all come forward and said exactly what I’ve been saying for a long time — America is not a racist country,” Scott said.
Scott added that there is “absolutely” a “lingering effect” as a result of centuries of racism and discrimination in the country.
“The question we should be debating and fighting over is how do we resolve those issues going forward,” Scott said. “One side says I’m going to take from some to give to others. Fighting bigotry with bigotry is hypocrisy. It just doesn’t work.”
Scott, who is the lone Black Republican in the Senate and spearheaded GOP senators’ police reform bill that failed to get the 60 votes needed for passage in the upper chamber last year, then boosted his fellow Republicans by saying that he has suggested expanding “opportunity” for Black Americans.
“One of the reasons why we have fought for and won the highest level of funding for historically Black colleges, Republicans leading that fight is because I understand that if I could level the playing field in education, we will actually see human flourishing like we’ve never seen before,” Scott said.
When asked whether the COVID-19 pandemic “laid bare” the inequities in Black community, Scott took take aim at the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that passed in Congress without Republican support through budget reconciliation.
“When you pass a COVID package with $2 trillion of spending, and in your package you hide in there: If you are a black farmer, we will give you resources, but if you are a white farmer, you’re excluded from those same resources. That’s taking from one to give them the other,” Scott said, referring to a lawsuit waged by a group of Midwestern farmers against the federal government who allege that the Biden administration’s COVID-19 loan forgiveness program is unconstitutional. The Biden administration’s plan allocates $4 billion to forgive loans for farmers and ranchers of Black, American Indian, Hispanic, Alaskan native, Asian American or Pacific Islander descent.
“So we’re going to reverse that and call that a way of creating fairness in our country. That doesn’t really work,” Scott said.
Watch Scott’s remarks below:
Republican @SenatorTimScott believes "America is not a racist country," but has also said the system is "breaking the back and breaking the spirit” of millions of Black Americans.
How do those two statements coexist? He explains → pic.twitter.com/EXoDm9olaa
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 2, 2021