Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) called the remarks of a state NAACP leader who called him a “ventriloquist dummy” for the right “pretty remarkable, and absolutely ridiculous.”
“We must not give up the so-called high moral ground to the right-wing extremists,” the Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, said Sunday. He singled out Scott in the speech at Zion Baptist Church in downtown Columbia. “A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy,” Barber said. He said “the extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party.”
“I certainly understand why people would have some kind of opinion that suggests that we’re not as strong on the right. But here’s what happens when you almost flunk out of high school. You meet a mentor who teaches that you can think your way out of poverty. That in fact, the best and brightest opportunities aren’t found by looking for the government to bring it to you, but it’s found by looking in the mirror and blaming yourself if you don’t succeed. If you’ve been given the God-given talents and skills to work — and if you do so, this country rewards you with amazing opportunity, outstanding success, and what we should be preaching all over the country,” Scott said on Fox News.
“…It’s actually having a conversation where we embrace people who are in need and in trouble. And we show people, as I was shown, the path forward using basic common sense principles that govern the actual economy. And that’s where you create a job, you make more money, make a profit, you can use that profit to create wealth, these are basic simple principles that are taught every single day in the workforce.”
Scott said he didn’t expect an apology, and the NAACP doubled down instead of issuing any apology.
“Dr. King emphasized love and justice rather than extremism. Unless we stand for justice we cannot claim allegiance to or pay homage to Dr. King,” the NAACP said in a statement to Fox News. “In a state such as South Carolina, politicians, whether they be black or white, should not be echoing the position of the far right.”
Scott announced today that he’ll be hosting an event to celebrate Black History Month titled Honoring our Past and Celebrating our Future: Discussing Personal Journeys and a Nation’s Progress with America’s Black Senators, a discussion moderated by Senate Chaplain Barry Black.
Former Sens. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.), Roland Burris (D-Ill.), and William “Mo” Cowan (D-Mass.) will be joining Scott for the event at the Library of Congress a month from now.
President Obama, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and former Sen. Edward Brooke (R-Mass.), now 94 years old, have been invited.