Back in 2016, Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott complained of being stopped by police more than seven times in one year. The Black senator from South Carolina pushed for police reform in 2021. But now, in 2023, as he kicks his presidential campaign into gear, he says America is “not a land of oppression” in a Fox News opinion piece.
He didn’t always seem to think this way. On July 14, 2016, Scott delivered a personal speech on the Senate floor in Washington, D.C., about the “deep divide” between communities and law enforcement.
He recalled interacting with no so good law enforcement officers. “I’ve experienced it myself,” NPR reported.
Scott told the floor that he had been stopped seven times in the course of one year as an elected official. “Was I speeding sometimes? Sure. But the vast majority of the time, I was pulled over for driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or something else just as trivial,” he said.
He added that this was a common occurrence for Black men. “I do not know many African-American men who do not have a very similar story to tell, no matter their profession. No matter their income, no matter their disposition in life.”
Scott also recalled walking into an office building on Capitol Hill and having an officer ask him to show his ID even though he wore a Senate pin.
He said, “there is absolutely nothing more frustrating, more damaging to your soul than when you know you’re following the rules and being treated like you are not.”
“We must find a way to fill these cracks in the very foundation of our country,” he said.
In 2021, Scott asked to take the lead on GOP efforts to reform policing in the U.S. because he’s personally been stopped 18 times for “driving while Black,” Newsweek reported.
“One of the reasons why I asked to lead this police reform conversation on my side of the aisle is because I have—I personally understand the pain of being stopped 18 times driving while Black,” Scott told CBS News’s Face the Nation.
“I’ve been stopped several times in the last three years in the Capitol and on the streets throughout the country. So I’m not having a conversation about some theory or philosophy,” he explained.
Yet now, in the Fox News opinion piece to promote his capaign, Scott praised the U.S.
“When the radical left claims America is an evil, declining country, they cheapen my single mother’s sacrifice. She worked 16-hour days as a nurse’s aide to keep our lights on. Now the hands that changed bedpans hold the Bible when her son takes the oath of office,” he wrote.
He continued, “The Biden liberals are so fixated on race and the pain of the past that they can’t see the promise of America’s future. The truth of my life disproves their lies, and that’s why I’m the conservative they fear the most.”
Further into the piece, he wrote, “I know America is a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression. I know it because I’ve lived it.”
Republican presidential candidate South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott speaks during U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride, June 3, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)