Republican Senator Tim Scott, on the morning after he championed Donald Trump’s re-election, disagreed with the president on one of the major issues of the campaign: mail-in voting.
Scott told the ‘Today Show’ that using mail-in balloting in November ‘will work out just fine’ – a marked contrast to President Trump, who has complained – without proof – that mail-in voting leads to election fraud.
And the senator from South Carolina refused to bite when ‘Today Show’ host Savannah Guthrie pressed him on differing with the president on the issue.
‘You’ll have an opportunity I hope to interview the president,’ Scott said Tuesday morning. ‘I’ll just tell you how I feel about it and what I think most Americans believe and that is this process of mail-in ballots will work out just fine. I think every single American should have the right to vote. How we do so is important. That we do so is more important.’
He expressed confidence that November’s election would be fair, another contrast to President Trump who said it will be one of the most ‘rigged’ elections in history.
‘I have a lot of confidence in our electoral process. I’m very confident that we will have fair elections throughout this country. And most of the issues that remain are going to be local issues, having served in local government I have a lot of confidence in how we will take care of this election cycle,’ Scott said.
His comments came the morning after he closed out the first day of the Republican National Convention, giving the keynote address at the event to make the case for Trump’s second term.
More than 80 million Americans are expected to vote by mail this fall as a way of combating the coronavirus. President Trump has complained it’s going to lead to a ‘rigged election’ even as he votes by absentee ballot and has urged others to do so.
But the president objects to many states taking the initiative to mail ballots to registered voters and the Republican Party has launched lawsuits to try and stop such moves.
Scott, the only African American Republican senator, closed out Monday evening with his personal story of how his family went from ‘cotton to Congress’ – as he made a case for the ‘goodness of America’ and ripped Joe Biden for recent flubs on race.
Scott, a South Carolina senator who says he was raised by a single mother and dropped out of school in ninth grade only to return to complete his education, spoke of his connection to his grandfather, who got to witness his own rise.
‘Growing up, he had to cross the street if a white person was coming,’ said Scott.
‘He suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third grader to pick cotton. And he never learned to read or write. Yet he lived long enough to see his grandson be the first African American be elected to both the United States House and the United States Senate in the history of this country.’
‘Our family went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime,’ he underlined.
Scott tied his own story of achievement to a pitch for Trump’s reelection at a time of angry clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and police following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
‘And that’s why I believe the next American century can be better than the last,’ said Scott. ‘We have work to do, but I believe in the goodness of America,’ he added.
Scott also called for people to paint a ‘full picture’ of Trump,’ whose most fervent opponents have called him a racist.
He called several of Joe Biden’s flubs, including one the former vice president made while appearing withe Charlamagne tha God on his syndicated show ‘The Breakfast Club.’ Biden walked back the comment afterwards.
‘Joe Biden said if a Black man didn’t vote for him, he wasn’t truly black,’ said Scott, recalling the incident. ‘Joe Biden said black people are a monolithic community. It was Joe Biden who said “poor kids can be just as smart as white kids.”‘
Biden told the host in May: ‘“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
He quickly apologized for the remark. ‘I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African American vote for granted. But nothing could be further [from] the truth.’ Biden said he was making the point that ‘making the point that I have never taken the vote for granted.’
Scott was also referencing Biden’s recent comment to NPR that ‘What you all know that most people don’t know, unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly different attitudes about different things.’
Biden quickly walked back the comment and said: ‘Throughout my career I’ve witnessed the diversity of thought, background, and sentiment within the African American community.’
Scott continued his attack as he blasted Biden for the 1994 Crime Bill saying ‘while his words are one thing, his actions take it to a whole new level.’
Scott also talked up his support for Opportunity Zones legislation signed by President Trump.
And he lobbed several phrases at Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris that sought to tie them to the worst excesses of socialist dictatorship.
He said they would ‘turn our country into a socialist utopia’ and added: ‘Make no mistake, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution. A fundamentally different America.’
Scott mentioned the death of Floyd, which not only precipitated mass protests but brought on new conversations about race and history.
‘This isn’t how I pictured tonight, but our country is experiencing something none of us envisioned,” Scott said at the mostly virtual convention. “From a global pandemic, to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, 2020 has tested our nation in ways we haven’t seen for decades,’ he said.
Scott’s speech came at the end of a convention that sought to present a diverse image of the candidate’s support by showcasing endorsements from two African American supporters – including a state lawmakers who accused Democrats of running a ‘mental plantation.’
Former NFL great Herschel Walker lent his famous name and football swagger to his endorsement, while also recalling a time he bonded with Trump at Disney World.
‘I watched him as the owner of a professional football team,’ said Walker, who started out his pro football career in the New Jersey Generals, a USFL team Trump owned.
‘Right after he bought the team, he set out to learn,’ said the former Heisman trophy winner. ‘He learned about the history of the team, the players, the coaches. Every detail. Then he used what he learned to make the team better,’ said walker.
The pitch came days after Democrat Joe Biden staged a multi-cultural convention that celebrated the late civil rights hero John Lewis, had a cast of emcees including Eva Longoria, and highlighted the black and south Asian ancestral of running mate Kamala Harris.
President Trump has made repeated appeals for black support, even as his convention repeatedly blasted protesters it linked to the ‘socialist left’ and ‘mob rule’ following the death of George Floyd.
Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat, delivered scathing remarks at his own party, which he accused of exploiting black voters.
‘The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave the mental Plantation they’ve had us on for decades,’ he said.
‘But I have news for them: We are free people with free minds,’ said Jones, at a time when Biden is holding large leads among black voters, but hopes to build a critical advantage over Hillary Clinton’s performance, where black turnout dropped off from 2012.
Jones accused Biden of being ‘all talk and no action,’ and said: ‘When President Trump sought to earn the Black vote, the Democratic Party leaders went crazy!’
He talked up Trump’s support for historically black colleges. ‘That’s right. Donald Trump did that.,’ he said.
And he talked up criminal justice reform, which Trump successfully negotiated with Congress, building on bipartisan efforts there.
‘Democrats couldn’t do it! Obama couldn’t do it! Joe Biden and Kamala Harris definitely couldn’t do it!’ he said.
He accused Democrats of having ‘turned their backs on our brave police officers’ in recent protests.
As the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, Jones exonerated himself after facing rape accusations in 2005 when he was De Kalb County Executive in Georgia. The woman stood by her story and the state AG said the charges were dropped because the alleged victim didn’t want to go through a trial.
The woman who accused him told investigators that Jones raped her, following an encounter at his home involving her and another woman. The then-29 year old acknowledged telling Jones at the time the encounter was consensual, but did so in order to leave his home. Jones and his lawyer denied the charges and issued statements saying the contact was consensual.
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley also vouched for Trump and talked about her own diverse background.
‘He knows that political correctness and cancel culture are dangerous and just plain wrong,’ said Haley who is of Indian descent.
‘In much of the Democratic party it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country. This is personal for me,’ said Haley, who called herself the ‘proud daughter of Indian immigrants.’