Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is offering a glimpse of his own battles with racism, both past and present.
During a closed-door Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday, Scott shared that he has received hateful and profane voicemails, one calling him “Uncle Tim,” as Politico reported.
Shocked 2learn at lunch abt hateful msgs to Sen Tim Scott our ldr of police reform from ppl who must think somehow a black republican can’t lead this effort bc only democrats r qualified to talk abt race/police reform??? we ALL hv a responsibility to b kind even when we disagree!— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) June 23, 2020
Following the Senate lunch, Scott verbalized his concerns about the need for substantial change in law enforcement as he urged his colleagues to vote in favor of the JUSTICE Act.
Stressing the importance of police reform and eliminating vestiges of systemic racism, Scott noted multiple occasions where he also faced bouts of racism. He also shed light on the backlash he has received for his political affiliations at such a critical point in the Civil Rights movement.
“All of us do not have to tackle the issues like I did when I was 16 and 17 and 18 and 25 and 26 and 30,” Scott said. “We have the ability to say to that young man and to that young lady, ‘We don’t just see you, we didn’t just hear you. We acted on it.’”
Scott also admitted that his passion for change goes far beyond the staggering number of times he’s been stopped by police as a Black man.
“Why am I so passionate about this issue beyond my 18 stops as a person of color?” Scott asked. “In my legislation and the Republican Senate legislation and the House legislation there is so much common ground and to lose this moment for the kids and the young adults watching this process would be terrible.”
See Scott’s remarks below:
Scott’s remarks come as the Senate prepares to vote on the police reform bill he is leading.
On June 17, Scott also appeared on Trevor Noah’s “The Daily Social Distancing Show” where the host addressed concerns about Senate Republicans using him as the “token Black guy.”
Noah noted that many people are skeptical about the substantiality of the Republican-backed police reform bill as they believe Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, is being used to gain the trust of protesters fighting for reform by “saving face.”
Scott was asked how he conveys law and order to his colleagues when those who are responsible for upholding the law are, in fact, the people breaking the law, as Noah said.
Scott also shed light on his role in bridging the gap, saying, “This is something we’ve been working on forever, it feels like. I did a Driving While Black event when I was on county counsel 20 plus years ago.”
“And to think of the number of people who have had to have their car surrounded because they were simply going to see their grandparents like I was. […] We should be thankful that we’re having this conversation and making some progress in the right direction on an issue that has plagued the African American community in the same fashion that the COVID-19 is plaguing the world.”
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the Republican-led police reform bill Wednesday. However, Senate Democrats are expected to block the bill.