Scott: Racial 'Overtones' from Some GOPs Obscuring Party's Message

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) speaks at a news conference in the Capitol on Dec. 19, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said his criticism of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) isn’t a call for the congressman to resign, but an opportunity for conservatives “to be heard by every single American in every corridor of the country if we are able to overcome some of the overtones that come from members of our party.”

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King told the New York Times last week. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Scott initially responded with a Washington Post op-ed, in which he wrote that “when people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole.”

Scott told Fox News on Wednesday that King “has to make his own decisions,” as “I’m not in the position to know what’s in his heart. I have not been one of his constituents.”

“And those are the only two — himself, one person, and his constituents, the other body, that will make that decision. I don think it’s my responsibility, nor is it my opportunity to weigh in to what he should do from his own perspective. What I can say is that when we are tripping over our own message because our messengers get in the way, that’s not good for the party,” he added.

Scott argued that King’s comments are “not good for America because what we’ve done in the last two years under President Trump’s leadership is to transform our nation economically to undergird the success of our nation from a regulatory perspective, which only means that the greatest asset we have, the average person in our nation is our greatest asset.”

“They have a chance to flourish like they haven’t had in more than a decade,” he said. “And that’s good news and, unfortunately, that good news is not being heard loud enough, strong enough or often enough.”

The House passed this week a resolution of disapproval against King’s comments, stating that “while our country has often fallen short of these ideals, patriotic Americans have sought to form a more perfect Union by rejecting White nationalism and White supremacy, embracing inclusive patriotism, and welcoming immigrants from across the globe who have continuously enriched our Nation.” King voted for the measure.