WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said Sunday that he hopes Americans take the time a year after the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Va., “to find a way to break bread with someone who is not like themselves, to say to those folks who believe that there’s one superior race that they’re dead wrong and that this country will always come together in a way that blesses each other, because we are one nation under God.”
Last year, Scott said President Trump was at times racially insensitive. “And what the president should do before he says something is to sit down and become better acquainted, have a personal connection to the painful history of racism and bigotry of this country,” Scott said of Trump’s response to Charlottesville.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!”
Scott told CBS on Sunday morning that the tweet was “a positive sign.”
Scott also cited Trump’s receptiveness to the senator’s plan for opportunity zones to bring more resources back into distressed communities. “We celebrate the success of this economy, without any question. But the reality of it is that there are pockets in this nation where the recovery has been uneven,” he added. “…We are probably about 30 days away from the final regulations that will allow opportunity funds to be created and opportunity zones to be populated with new investment, new resources and hopefully minimizing gentrification at the same time.”
The senator also recently met with Trump to discuss prison reform and sentencing reform.
“The question is, is there a way for us to add on top of the prison reform legislation criminal justice reform that would give release valves on nonviolent, perhaps first-time offenders, as opposed to having to deal with the mandatory minimums having a way to reduce a sentence?” he said. “That is a far more treacherous ground for us to wade through. But the president engaged in the conversation. I think we had meaningful conversation. I think there was reasonable progress.”
Scott acknowledged he’s still the only Republican co-sponsor on legislation to make lynching a federal crime. The bill was introduced at the end of June by Scott and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
“I look forward to looking for ways to bring more folks on board. I think we will,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, the lynching issue is an issue that we should have dealt with many years ago. It is still an issue that raises fear and trepidation in communities of color. And, frankly, in any community in this nation, we should all stand together and say that lynching is a hate crime, be done with it, and move on. I think we will see a bipartisan coalition coming together on that bill.”
The senator said the Republican Party is “going through some hard times, without any question” as “the rhetoric is not always helpful.”
“But the fact of the matter is that I’m more interested and more concerned with the progress of one nation and one American family than I am just the Republican Party,” he said.