5 Things to Know About Tim Scott (2023)


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Mr. Scott, who just announced a presidential campaign, is the first Black Republican senator from the South in more than a century and has been a prominent voice in his party on matters of race.

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5 Things to Know About Tim Scott (1)
(Video) Trump Welcomes Tim Scott To 2024 Race | The View

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who announced his presidential campaign on Monday, is the first Black Republican senator from the South in more than a century and has been one of his party’s most prominent voices on matters of race, often navigating a political tightrope.

Here are five things to know about Mr. Scott.

A rapid rise

Mr. Scott was elected to Congress during the Tea Party wave of 2010 to represent South Carolina’s First District, which would flip to Democrats in 2018 and back to Republicans in 2020. He was previously an insurance agent and served on the Charleston County Council and in the South Carolina House.

Just two years after winning his U.S. House seat, he was appointed to the Senate to replace Jim DeMint, a conservative hard-liner who resigned to lead the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank.

The woman who appointed him was Nikki Haley, then the governor of South Carolina and now one of his opponents in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mr. Scott quickly gained national attention, not only for the historic nature of his appointment — he was the fifth Black person, and the first from the South, to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction — but also for his personal story. He was raised by a single mother and was a failing student before meeting a Chick-fil-A owner who mentored him and, he wrote in an opinion piece for The Post and Courier in 2010, taught him conservative values.

He won a special election in 2014 to fill the remainder of Mr. DeMint’s term, then was elected to a full term in 2016 and re-elected in 2022 by wide margins.

A Republican voice on race …

Mr. Scott has used his platform as one of the few Black Republicans in Congress — there are four in the House, and he is the only one in the Senate — to argue that Democrats are wrong about the persistence of structural racism in the United States.

It is a standard Republican argument but has carried different weight coming from Mr. Scott. He has presented his success as evidence that Black Americans are no longer marginalized, telling Iowans in February that he was “living proof” that “we are indeed a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression.”

(Video) What God Told Sen. Tim Scott Before He Announced Presidential Run | FULL INTERVIEW


His grandfather grew up under Jim Crow and had to leave elementary school to pick cotton, but lived to see Mr. Scott win a House primary over the segregationist Strom Thurmond’s son. He is fond of saying his family went “from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.” In a speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention, he credited his constituents with fulfilling the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream by judging him “on the content of my character, not the color of my skin.”

In 2022, as Congress debated voting rights, Mr. Scott clashed with the Senate’s two other Black members, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Raphael Warnock of Georgia, both Democrats. As the grandson of a man disenfranchised by Jim Crow, he said, he took offense at a term some had used to describe the voting restrictions Republican-led states had enacted: “Jim Crow 2.0.”

It is “hard to deny progress,” he said, when two of three Black senators “come from the Southern states which people say are the places where African American votes are being suppressed.”

… with some breaks from the party line

Mr. Scott has spoken forcefully about modern-day racism while maintaining that it does not reflect any systemic blight.

After the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, he criticized President Donald J. Trump’s assertion that there were “very fine people on both sides,” and ended up giving Mr. Trump a history lesson in the Oval Office.

He told the president about “the affirmation of hate groups who over three centuries of this country’s history have made it their mission to create upheaval in minority communities as their reason for existence,” he said at the time. He said he had also shared his thoughts on “the last three centuries of challenges from white supremacists, white nationalists, K.K.K., Nazis.”

The next year, Mr. Scott sank two of Mr. Trump’s judicial nominees. The first was Ryan W. Bounds, who had written a column in college denouncing “race-focused groups.” The second was Thomas A. Farr, who had defended a North Carolina voter ID law that a court said targeted Black people with “almost surgical precision.” Mr. Farr had also been involved years earlier in a campaign in which Senator Jesse Helms was accused of intimidating Black voters.

(Video) Sen. Tim Scott talks to NBC News about presidential bid


Mr. Scott’s most emotional moment may have come in 2015, after the massacre of Black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. In a speech on the Senate floor, he choked back tears while quoting a victim’s son who he said had expressed hope “that this evil attack would lead to reconciliation, restoration and unity.”

Still, he described the shooting as “the hateful and racist actions of one deranged man,” not as evidence of a larger social issue.

A proponent of police reform

Mr. Scott has broken from other Republicans in acknowledging bias in policing and pushing for reform, though not to the extent Democrats have.

“While I thank God I have not endured bodily harm, I have, however, felt the pressure applied by the scales of justice when they are slanted,” he said in 2016, after a series of police shootings of Black men and the shooting of officers in Dallas. “I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you are being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.”

He said that he had been pulled over numerous times, and that a Capitol Police officer had once demanded to see identification even though he was wearing a lapel pin identifying him as a senator.

He initially promoted bills to increase the use of body cameras and the tracking of police shootings. When protests exploded in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd, he took on a deeper and more formal role, writing Republicans’ legislative response to the crisis.

(Video) Fox gushes about Tim Scott as Trump sued for more defamation 5/23/23 TDPS Podcast

What came out of that was the Justice Act, which, among other things, would have funded de-escalation training, outlawed chokeholds and made officers’ disciplinary records from past police departments available to new departments considering hiring them.

He was also instrumental in a bill — stymied in 2020 but passed in 2022 — to make lynching a federal crime, but opposed a Democratic effort to change qualified immunity, which limits officers’ civil liability.

A conservative record

His work across the aisle on policing notwithstanding, Mr. Scott has a conservative record on most issues.

He describes himself as “strongly pro-life” and has supported legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks and permanently prohibit federal funding for abortion. In a fund-raising email last year, he told supporters that if Republicans didn’t take back the Senate, Democrats would “grant abortions up to 52 weeks” — 12 weeks longer than pregnancy lasts.

Challenged on that claim in an interview with PBS, he said that the email had been “hyperbolic” and accused Democrats — as many Republicans have — of supporting abortion “until the day of birth,” which does not happen even in states with no legal limits.

Mr. Scott has co-sponsored legislation to repeal the federal estate tax — which applies after a person’s death if the estate of the deceased is worth more than about $12.9 million — and, this spring, pushed the Biden administration to delay new energy standards for mobile homes, under which he said low-income Americans would be “unfairly asked to bear the costs imposed by climate alarmists.”

He has also been a major proponent of “opportunity zones,” which were introduced in Republicans’ 2017 tax bill. The initiative aims to create tax incentives for private investment in areas with high poverty and low job growth. Describing the provision, Mr. Scott’s Senate campaign website last year put “PRIVATE” in all caps, presenting opportunity zones as an alternative to government safety-net programs, though many of the beneficiaries have been wealthy.

Maggie Astor is a reporter covering live news and U.S. politics. She has also reported on climate, the coronavirus and disinformation. @MaggieAstor


(Video) Tim Scott Announces His 2024 Presidential Run | The View

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What is Tim Scott known for? ›

Scott is one of 11 African Americans to have served in the U.S. Senate, and the first to have served in both chambers of Congress. He is the seventh African-American elected to the Senate and the fourth from the Republican Party.

What does Tim Scott believe in? ›

He added during the recent interview with NBC that he's backed legislation to ban abortion after both 20 weeks and 15 weeks. "I believe that life has intrinsic value, because it comes from God. I have a 100% pro-life voting record. I'm 100% pro-life conservative.

Where is Tim Scott from? ›

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina struck all the right conservative chords during his presidential announcement in his hometown of North Charleston on Monday.

What college did Tim Scott go to? ›

Who was the first black senator in U.S. history? ›

Hiram Rhodes Revels (left) was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate; Carol Moseley Braun was the first African American woman elected to the chamber.

Who is the only black U.S. senator? ›

At presidential campaign announcement, Republican Tim Scott blasts Democratic President Joe Biden and what he calls the 'radical left' Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the US Senate, has announced his presidential candidacy, blasting the current office holder, Democrat Joe Biden, along the way.

What business did Tim Scott start? ›

After college, he started selling insurance, eventually growing Tim Scott Allstate into a 3,000-customer business.

Did Tim Scott play in the NFL? ›

Scott signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent on May 9, 2015.

Who is Tim Scott's mom? ›

Senator Tim Scott is kicking off his Women's History Month video series with a sit-down interview with his mother, Frances Scott.

Is Tim Scott from South Carolina? ›

About Tim. Growing up in a poor, single parent household in North Charleston, South Carolina, a young Tim Scott grew accustomed to moving every few years, as well as the long hours his mom worked to keep a roof over their heads.

How many representatives does South Carolina have? ›

Current members

The current U.S. House delegation from South Carolina has 7 members, including 6 Republicans and 1 Democrat.

Who is the black senator from South Carolina? ›

In a 2014 special election to serve out the remainder of his term, Scott became the first Black candidate to win a statewide race in South Carolina since the Reconstruction era. Before that, Scott had just been elected to his second term representing South Carolina's 1st Congressional District.

Does Tim Scott have siblings? ›

Who is the first Black millionaire? ›

Madam C.J.

Walker (1867-1919), who started life as a Louisiana sharecropper born to formerly enslaved parents in 1867, is usually cited as the first Black millionaire.

Who was the first female senator? ›

Appointed to fill a vacancy on October 3, 1922, Rebecca Felton of Georgia took the oath of office on November 21, 1922, becoming the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. Felton served only 24 hours after taking the oath, but her historic appointment paved the way for other women senators.

How many U.S. representatives are Black? ›

There currently are 58 African-American representatives and two African-American delegates in the United States House of Representatives, representing 28 states, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. Most are members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Who was the first non white senator? ›

He took the oath of office on February 25, 1870. Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi was the first African American member of the United States Senate. He took the oath of office on February 25, 1870.

Who was the first black woman senator? ›

Moseley Braun was the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, the first African-American U.S. Senator from the Democratic Party, the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in the primaries for the nomination by a major party, and the first female U.S. Senator from Illinois.

When was the first Negro History Week? ›

Woodson initiated the first Negro History Week in February 1926. Dr. Woodson selected the week in February that included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two key figures in the history of Black Americans. Carol M.

Who is backing Tim Scott? ›

Sen. John Thune, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, is endorsing the presidential campaign of Sen. Tim Scott, according to a person familiar with his plans. The South Dakota senator will appear at Scott's presidential launch on Monday in South Carolina, the person said.

What happened to Tim Couch in the NFL? ›

Hyden, Kentucky, U.S. Couch threw for over 11,000 passing yards and helped the Browns qualify for the postseason in 2002, but his career would be cut short by injuries. Following attempted comebacks with the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars, he retired after failing to make the final roster for either team.

How many years did Tim Couch play in the NFL? ›

Timothy Scott "Tim" Couch (born July 31, 1977) is a former American college and professional football player who was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for five seasons.

Who is ESPN football commentator Tim? ›

Timothy Thomas Hasselbeck is an American sports journalist and former American football quarterback who currently works as an analyst for ESPN.

Why did Melissa leave Scott's dad? ›

However, as a result of Rafael's struggle with alcoholism, their relationship began to fray, which ultimately led to their divorce when the two got into a fight while Rafael was intoxicated and he accidentally pushed Scott down the stairs.

Is Tim Scott in office? ›

Is Scott's mom a nurse? ›

Melissa McCall (née Delgado) is Scott McCall's mother with her ex-husband Rafael McCall and works as an R.N. nurse at Beacon Hills Hospital.

What state is Tim Scott running in? ›

He is the second South Carolina Republican to enter the race for the GOP nomination. Scott joins former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who declared her candidacy in February. It was Haley who just over a decade ago appointed him to the Senate to fill a vacancy.

How many people are in the US Senate? ›

The Constitution prescribes that the Senate be composed of two senators from each State (therefore, the Senate currently has 100 Members) and that a senator must be at least thirty years of age, have been a citizen of the United States for nine years, and, when elected, be a resident of the State from which he or she ...

Who represents SC? ›

Congressman James E. Clyburn | Proudly Serving the 6th District of South Carolina.

Is there 2 representatives for each state? ›

Recent News. The U.S. Congress consists of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each state elects two senators, while seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned by state according to population, with each state receiving a minimum of one representative.

Who is the speaker of the House? ›

Altogether, 55 individuals, from 23 states, have served as speaker of the House. The office is currently held by Kevin McCarthy following the outcome of the 2023 speaker election conducted at the start of the 118th Congress.

What senator from South Carolina defended slavery? ›

A staunch defender of the institution of slavery, and a slave-owner himself, Calhoun was the Senate's most prominent states' rights advocate, and his doctrine of nullification professed that individual states had a right to reject federal policies that they deemed unconstitutional.

Who was the old racist senator from South Carolina? ›

James Strom Thurmond Sr. (December 5, 1902 – June 26, 2003) was an American politician who represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 to 2003.

Who was a pro slavery senator from South Carolina? ›

John C. Calhoun
Succeeded byMartin Van Buren
United States Senator from South Carolina
In office November 26, 1845 – March 31, 1850
Preceded byDaniel Elliott Huger
36 more rows

Is Tim Scott of South Carolina married? ›

Senator Tim Scott is not married.

Is South Carolina conservative? ›

Presently, South Carolina's government is formed as a representative democracy. South Carolina is a largely conservative, Republican state.

What has Lindsey Graham done for SC? ›

Graham was elected to the United States Senate in 2002 and was re-elected in 2008, 2014, and 2020. He became the first person in South Carolina history to garner over one million votes in the 2008 general election. Graham currently serves as the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

What is the most liberal state? ›

Most Liberal States 2023
  1. Massachusetts. Massachusetts is the most liberal state in the U.S., with 35% of voters identifying as liberal. ...
  2. Hawaii. Hawaii is the second-most liberal state in the United States. ...
  3. Rhode Island. ...
  4. California. ...
  5. New York. ...
  6. Vermont. ...
  7. Maryland. ...
  8. New Jersey.

Which US state is most conservative? ›

Wyoming is the most Republican state in the U.S.. 67% of residents in Wyoming identify as Republican or Republican-leaning. Wyoming has low taxes across the board, including no state income tax.

Is South Carolina a nice place to live? ›

South Carolina was the 3rd most popular state to move to, and for good reason! With a mild climate, mouthwatering food, and a myriad of outdoor activities, people are falling in love with the Palmetto State.

Who pays Lindsey Graham's legal fees? ›

Almost all the funds came from executives of companies that rely on the federal government or the political committees of fellow senators.

Does Lindsey Graham have a law degree? ›

During his studies, he became a member of the Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in psychology in 1977, and from the University of South Carolina School of Law with a J.D. in 1981.

How long is a Senate term? ›

Senators are elected to six-year terms, and every two years the members of one class—approximately one-third of the senators—face election or reelection.


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