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President Trump has delivered his first endorsement since his political reemergence at CPAC, backing Tim Scott’s Senate reelection. Scott’s race is still nearly two years away, he isn’t expected to face a major primary challenge, and the race itself is unlikely to be close unless Republicans are having a seriously bad year.
So why the big public endorsement now? A recent Bloomberg article suggests a possible reason:
Donald Trump is telling allies he’s strongly considering another run for president in 2024 — and close advisers want him to choose someone other than former Vice President Mike Pence for his ticket, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Trump’s advisers have discussed identifying a Black or female running mate for his next run, and three of the people familiar with the matter said Pence likely won’t be on the ticket. … [O]n Tuesday, Trump issued a public endorsement for South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s re-election. Scott is the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate. [Bloomberg]
President Trump may see a team-up with Sen. Scott as his path back to the White House. Doubtless, his advisors tell him that this would appeal to non-white voters and moderate whites (by showing he is Not Racist), expand his coalition and give him the advantage over President Biden or (more likely) President Harris.
President Trump should ignore this advice. Senator Scott doesn’t deserve to be the Republican all-star he is treated as, and he absolutely doesn’t belong on a Republican presidential ticket.
As the party nominally opposed to affirmative action, it is unsurprising that the Republican Party practices it more aggressively than any other institution in America. Republicans are mostly white, and their leaders are mostly white men. Rather than realize there is nothing wrong with that, Republicans have accepted the left’s moral framing, and are desperate to elevate women, non-white, and gay figures as a way to “prove” the party is not bigoted.
This doesn’t mean in the slightest that all conservative women and minorities are overhyped tokens. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem would deserve national praise for defying coronavirus insanity even if she were a man. Justice Clarence Thomas would be the finest constitutionalist on the Supreme Court right now no matter what his race.
Tim Scott isn’t an awful senator. He isn’t a stealthy open borders zealot, and he’s “conservative enough” on most big issues. Yet, once again, the question Donald Trump and every other Republican must ask themselves is this: Purely on the merits, does Tim Scott deserve the hype he’s gotten as the future of the party, or a potential Trump running mate? An honest look at his record shows the answer must be “No.” At critical moments, Scott has repeatedly abandoned conservatives and nationalists to hand victories to globalists and the left, sometimes with lethal consequences.
1. Scott has enabled the left’s weaponization of “cancel culture.”
In the summer of 2018, Scott sank the nomination of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Ryan Bounds. It had nothing to do with Bounds’ judicial philosophy. Instead, in a worthy prelude to the events of 2020, Bounds was ruined because of articles he wrote as an undergraduate, a quarter-century before:
In one of his Stanford articles, Bounds described a phenomenon he called “race-think,” in which “multiculturalistas” and ethnic minorities bonded together to form groups of “racial purity” that he claimed ended up creating more division.
“During my years in our Multicultural Garden of Eden,” he wrote, “I have often marveled at the odd strategies that some of the more strident racial factions of the student body employ in their attempts to ‘heighten consciousness,’ ‘build tolerance,’ ‘promote diversity’ and otherwise convince us to partake of that fruit which promises to open our eyes to a PC version of the knowledge of good and evil. I am mystified because these tactics seem always to contribute more to restricting consciousness, aggravating intolerance and pigeonholing cultural identities than many a Nazi bookburning.”
In another article, he urged the university not to lower the burden of proof in finding accused rapists in violation of university policy. … In a third article he mocked the importance of “Sensitivity” and the university’s decision to make all students undergo mandatory sensitivity training after an LGBT statue was vandalized. He described sensitivity as a “pestilence” that “stalks us.”
“These sweet victories of Sensitivity reveal one thing: if we fancy ourselves oppressed (regardless of how oppressed, ignored, or downtrodden we objectively are) we will see the world, however unrealistically, as overflowing with instances that support our perception.” [WaPo]
The above examples, which were the worst the hostile Washington Post could muster, make it clear that nothing Bounds wrote remotely justified withdrawing his nomination. Bounds condemned dividing Americans up by race, defended the presumption of innocence on campus, and warned about victimhood culture decades before it became the society-strangling terminal cancer that it is today. If anything, his writings should be celebrated.
Much like the nakedly false accusations brought against Brett Kavanaugh a few months later, the left was just cynically using whatever it could to block a Trump nominee to the courts. That effort should have failed. Republicans had a Senate majority, and that was that. But then, even after Bounds was forced to deliver an unnecessary, humiliating apology for his writings, Sen. Scott still buried a knife in his back:
In an extraordinarily rare move on Thursday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) withdrew a circuit court judge nomination after Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) indicated that he would not vote for the nominee, causing other Republican senators to follow suit.
According to a GOP source familiar with the matter, Scott, the only black Republican senator, raised concerns to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) about Ryan Bounds’ college writings which allegedly included racially charged comments and other controversial statements.
Rubio, the source said, pledged to vote against Bounds alongside Scott, and “more Republicans [were] heading to ‘no’” on the nomination as a result.
McConnell then withdrew the nomination—but not before huddling with his top deputy, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), in his office off the Senate floor. The saga unfolded just minutes before the scheduled 1:45 p.m. vote. By 2:30 p.m., it was over. [The Daily Beast]
Scott’s decision was an odious capitulation to the left, and shouldn’t be forgotten.
Then, just a few months after sinking Bounds, Scott did it again, killing Thomas Farr’s judicial nomination. This time, the offense was that Farr had worked on Republican Jesse Helms’s Senate campaigns in 1984 and 1990, when Democrats accused Helms of engaging in voter suppression tactics. Scott’s colleagues labeled the attacks character assassination, but Scott chose to believe Democrats instead. After his decision, the left celebrated:
“This is a massive victory for those who have organized for a year against this nomination,” said Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, a liberal group. “It shows what progressives can do when we decide to wage a fight on the courts.” [NYT]
2. Scott enabled the Democratic Party’s pro-crime, anti-police push of 2020.
In the days and weeks after the death of George Floyd and the subsequent nationwide rioting, Sen. Scott had a chance to show genuine courage by standing up to the moral panic gripping the country. He could have pointed out any numbers of true things:
- That big city police departments were some of the most genuinely diverse institutions in America.
- That police were not systemically racist, and instead did their best at the unenviable job of containing the danger in America’s most criminal neighborhoods
- That police had made enormous strides in reducing officer-caused fatalities.
- That police played a key role in the enormous crime drop from 1990 to the present, and that this drop had dramatically improved the lives of all Americans.
Instead, at the critical moment, Scott gave in to the “systemic racism” hoax instead of standing up to it. Scott didn’t just declare Derek Chauvin a murderer without adequate evidence. He joined the left in demanding the arrest and prosecution of all four police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) May 30, 2020
Months later, when evidence was already available that Floyd’s death was far from an open-and-shut murder case, Scott was still calling the Minneapolis officers murderers. And he was going further. In a September tweet, Scott suggested the police officer who shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake in Kenosha was guilty of a crime as well:
➡️ 102 days since George Floyd was murdered.
➡️ 72 days since @SenateDems blocked police reform.
➡️ 12 days since Jacob Blake was paralyzed.
⁉️ Days until Senate Dems come to their senses, vote to move forward, get to conference committee and see police reform signed into law.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) September 4, 2020
In fact, Blake was wielding a knife at the time, and officers had reason to believe they were stopping a kidnapping-in-progress. Despite enormous political pressure to act otherwise, in January no charges were brought against the officers involved. Absolutely nothing about Blake’s case shows the need for “police reform.” But by then Scott had already done plenty to advance the left’s narratives.
Thankfully, Scott’s proposed police reform bill was not nearly as bad. While he sought to impose a de facto national ban on police chokeholds, Scott avoided the left’s more toxic and destructive demands, like an end to qualified immunity and widespread defunding of police departments.
Nevertheless, Scott must be held accountable. Police racism and violence is a fake crisis, but Scott helped the left create a real one. By spreading the lie that police are systemically racist, and that they regularly kill black Americans for the color of their skin, Scott contributed to the nationwide “racial reckoning” which caused mass riots, a police pullback, and an explosion in crime rates that claimed thousands of lives.
Scott’s position wasn’t a marginal disagreement over tax rates or regulatory policy. Instead, he took the wrong side on the single most important issue affecting the daily well-being of ordinary citizens. The central justification for government existing, the only reason it is tolerated at all, is that it keeps people safe. If the government cannot provide law and order, if it cannot protect people from the predatory individuals among us, it is fundamentally illegitimate. And over the summer of 2020, continuing up to the present, Democrats have taken the side of criminals against the police and against regular law-abiding citizens.
This isn’t just a moral matter. It’s also a political one. President Trump’s much-heralded gains with minority voters in 2020 had nothing to do with the Platinum Plan, or criminal justice reform, or Diamond and Silk. Instead, as progressive data scientist David Shor made clear in a recent interview with New York magazine, it had everything to do with Democratic pro-crime policies:
[W]e looked specifically at those voters who switched from supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016 to Donald Trump in 2020 to see whether anything distinguishes this subgroup in terms of their policy opinions. What we found is that Clinton voters with conservative views on crime, policing, and public safety were far more likely to switch to Trump than voters with less conservative views on those issues. And having conservative views on those issues was more predictive of switching from Clinton to Trump than having conservative views on any other issue-set was. [NYMag]
If President Trump sees minority voters as his way to win back the White House, than the anti-police rhetoric of Tim Scott is the last thing he or the party needs.
3. Scott accepts the same endless foreign policy interventionism as his fellow South Carolinians.
Maybe it’s something in the sweet tea: Between Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley, South Carolina has produced the Republican Party’s most high-profile interventionists, eager to find more expensive conflicts for the U.S. to ensnare itself. But Sen. Scott is of a similar mold. In 2019, Scott joined the group of Congressional Republicans going into hysterics over a possible withdrawal from Syria, selling the absurd line that getting U.S. troops out of danger would “abandon” American allies to the mercy of Turkey, a NATO ally that the U.S. supplies weapons to.
We should never turn our back on our allies. The Kurds have played an essential role in destroying the ISIS caliphate & it is simply unacceptable that we abandon them. What does this say to our other allies or future partnerships? I fear that whatever that answer is—its not good.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) October 7, 2019
The 2019 episode was a farce, one of the worst examples of the forever war lobby in Washington pulling Republican strings to perpetuate conflicts the U.S. had no reason to be involved in. Scott was far from the only Republican to join in. But he disgraced himself by participating nonetheless.
4. Scott has worked to hand Democrats real victories in the name of pointless symbolism.
Along with joining the mania for police “reform” and criminal justice “reform,” Scott was also a top Republican supporter of a federal lynching ban. Of course, lynching doesn’t actually happen anymore, and both murder and conspiracy to murder are already crimes, but that didn’t deter Scott, who collaborated with Cory Booker and Kamala Harris to pass an anti-lynching bill in the Senate in 2019. Like a lot of bad legislation, the bill was rushed through in response to Jussie Smollett’s obviously-fake but not-yet-debunked hate crime hoax in Chicago. Sen. Rand Paul later interfered to keep the bill from becoming law, which is a relief, because Tim Scott’s symbolic victory over lynching would have had real consequences for America:
A few days ago, someone spray-painted “BHAZ” (for “Black House Autonomous Zone”) on the pillars of St. John’s Episcopal Church, the site of President Donald Trump’s notorious June 1 photo op during protests against police brutality in Washington, D.C. Under the D.C. Code, that act of vandalism, assuming the damage costs less than $1,000, is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail. But under an “anti-lynching” bill that is part of the police reform packages backed by House Democrats and Senate Republicans, the same act could qualify as a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. [Reason]
If Scott wants to make a symbolic statement against lynching, there are countless better paths available. He could deliver speeches or introduce resolutions on the Senate floor. He could appropriate funds for lynching education (which would be pointless, but at least relatively harmless). He could try to warn the public against the dangers of mob rule and rushing to judgment, lessons the public would do well to re-learn today. Instead, Scott came close to giving federal prosecutors a weapon for upgrading petty crimes into major felonies. Such a law would inevitably be abused, and it shows poor judgment that Scott aided Democrats in passing it.
Whoever the Republican nominee for president is in 2024, and whomever his or her running mate is, both must fully and categorically reject the lies and fraudulent morality of the modern Democratic Party, as well as the failed policies of the old Bush-era GOP. Senator Tim Scott has failed these tests. That doesn’t make him evil, or a RINO. But it does mean he is not the way forward for a winning GOP.