Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) laid out the message that he wants to convey to Americans — ahead of a potential 2024 presidential bid — that the vision that the left is selling to Americans is one of grievances.
Scott made the remarks during a Sunday interview with Fox News host Shannon Bream on “Fox News Sunday.”
“In today’s society, the progressive left is trying to make America into grievance culture when in fact we’ve always stood on the foundation of greatness,” he said. “Our original sin should never define us because the story of redemption is what we’ve been living through more than 50-plus years. The greatest story of progress in the world is American progress in the last 50 years. I wish we’d spend more time talking about the goodness of this nation and stop the cancel culture.”
“We have to be able to contrast between why we are a great country and why the left wants us to talk about the grievance,” he later added. “The fact is that the left is trying to sell a drug of victimhood and a narcotic of despair.”
Sen. Tim Scott: “The fact is that the left is trying to sell a drug of victimhood and a narcotic of despair. The truth is that we have so much to celebrate and yet today in many parts of the country you feel like you’re in quicksand.” pic.twitter.com/60ESdcHY3Q
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) February 26, 2023
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: So, joining us now to discuss his potential White House run, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
Senator, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Good morning, Shannon. I hope you’re doing well.
BREAM: I am. I hope you are as well. I’m sure you’re a bit jetlagged because you spent a lot of time in Iowa and that’s gotten a lot of notice. You’ve been testing a message there.
Do you now see a lane for you in the 2024 GOP primary?
SCOTT: You know, Shannon, more importantly than a lane for me is, do we have lane for young kids growing up in single-parent households like I did? Looking at moms, single mothers who are working 16 hours a day like my mom did, can we make sure the lane to the American Dream is wide open for them?
I spent the day with Governor Reynolds who just passed monumental school choice reform, a powerful tool to make sure that parents have a choice and kids have a chance.
So, my focus is still on the mission of making sure that every single American believes that the American Dream is achievable for them.
BREAM: So, you talk with an optimistic message, and we talked about how you are highlighting faith not only in the religious sense, but that you want Americans to have faith in each other.
I want to put up our recent FOX News poll —
BREAM: — about how Americans feel about things today. They say, we are dysfunctional family, 81 percent of them.
Is it realistic to believe that you or any other politician can get us out of our corners and get people back to a place where there isn’t so much division?
SCOTT: There’s no doubt, Shannon, that when you look at that poll, that’s one of the reasons why I think it’s really important for us to come forward and have an authentic and sincere conversation about the goodness of America. In today’s society, the progressive left is trying to make America into grievance culture when in fact we’ve always stood on the foundation of greatness.
Our original sin should never define us because the story of redemption is what we’ve been living through more than 50-plus years. The greatest story of progress in the world is American progress in the last 50 years. I wish we’d spend more time talking about the goodness of this nation and stop the cancel culture.
BREAM: OK. Let’s talk about this positive message in talking about things like cancel culture. Will it work?
“The New York Times” says this about your assets being optimistic and possibly history-making as the nominee. Both of those assets could prove to be a liability in today’s Republican primary environment where voters rail against what they see is unfair favoritism toward people of color and where activists may be more interested in anger than optimism.
Everybody says they hate negative ads. They don’t like the political sniping. But the numbers show us they actually worked.
So, will this optimistic message work?
SCOTT: Well, certainly, I think it’s always worked. I mean, America is a country founded on the concept of hope.
Think about it this way — a world without America is a very dark place. America without faith is a nation without hope. So we definitely have to continue to work on the foundation that we have stood upon for the last 250-plus years.
But in addition to that, we have to be able to contrast between why we are a great country and why the left wants us to talk about the grievance. The fact is that the left is trying to sell a drug of victimhood and a narcotic of despair.
The truth is we have so much to celebrate and yet today, in many parts of the country, you feel like you’re in quicksand. We should not allow the zip code of a child to determine the quality of their life because education is the most powerful tool to equalize opportunity in this nation. But there are poor zip codes where that’s not possible.
We have to do something about that as one American family and, frankly, governors like Kim Reynolds and others are starting to take that responsibility, and prove that we as the GOP, the great opportunity party, we love America, we love our kids, and frankly, we are the best hope for a united future.
BREAM: OK. I want to talk about school choice in a minute but a couple of other things about your —
SCOTT: Yes, ma’am.
BREAM: — trip to Iowa.
So, not everybody thought your message was uplifting, including this one reporter from “The New York Magazine’s” “Intelligencer”. He says this: It’s hard to recall a more stridently asserted expression of belief that the route to national peace and unity requires the subjugation of one party by the other, the Scott speech was a relentlessly partisan screed accusing Joe Biden and the left of pursuing a blueprint for ruining America.
So, how does that square with the message of us having faith in each other as Americans?
SCOTT: Well, Shannon, that’s a great question. And once again, it goes back to the contrast that is necessary. I’m a hopeful guy not because I didn’t have to overcome problems. I had a miserable beginning, growing up in a single-parent household mired in poverty, the challenges that I face from self-esteem to low grades were monumental.
I overcame those challenges with grit, hard work, and inspiration. And so, the truth is, the left today, they seem to be working on a blueprint on how to ruin America. If you wanted to ruin America, you would print and spend trillions of dollars leading to the highest inflation we’ve seen in 40 years.
Why is that negative to point out the fact that under Joe Biden’s leadership, we’ve had the highest inflation in 40 years? Why is it negative to point out that we’ve had four and a half million people across our southern border illegally? Why is it negative to point out the fact that we’ve had 100,000 deaths to overdoses linked to fentanyl thousands upon thousands of those deaths?
If we don’t understand the state of America and the weakness of the progressive movement, then it’s impossible for us to offer positive optimistic solutions to the challenges that we face because of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
BREAM: You touch there and you do often about your personal story. It’s very inspiriting and compelling to people whether they support you or not, but even your supporters say there has to been more.
An opinion piece very favorable to you says this: you’re a talented candidate finding your theme, but you have to be careful not to substitute first-person narrative for an argument about why he is the right person to lead the country.
So if you get in, what is the argument for you policy-wise versus President Trump or anybody else who gets into this field? How are you different or better than the other options?
SCOTT: Well, Shannon, one of the things I love to take time to talk about, I hope we have about 30 minutes left to have this conversation is the policy —
BREAM: Slightly less.
SCOTT: OK, it sounds good.
The policy positions that I’ve taken. One of the most important parts of being in the majority was the opportunity we have with the Tax and Cut and Jobs Act. I had the good fortune to be the lead sponsor of the TCJA on the personal side of the tax code.
So I had the opportunity to help write that specific legislation. And we’ve lowered their taxes for a single mom by 70 percent. We promised to put more than $4,000 back in the average family’s pocket, we ended up around $4,400.
We were able to lower unemployment for African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians to the lowest level in the history of the country and the lowest level since World War II for women.
We actually saw more money come to the Treasury with lower taxes than anyone imagined and at the exact same time, wages grew at the bottom faster than at the top.
I created opportunity zones, my signature legislation, that has seen more than $50 billion attack poverty in the hardest hit areas of the country.
At the same time I focused on education, I started the School Choice Caucus. We led to the highest level of funding for HBCUs In the history of the country and then we made it permanent.
I led on the vast majority of those pieces of legislation, I’ve worked on police reform where we want to make sure that the best wore the badge, that the officers have the best resources, the best training, and we never questioned their qualified immunity.
We had to stand in the gap when it matters the most — that means leading from the front and not from the back.
BREAM: I want to make sure quickly if we can because I want to couple’s — to a couple of these issues.
SCOTT: Yes, ma’am.
BREAM: School choice. Lisa Lightner, a special education advocate, said what you do is end up hurting public schools when you let parents take the money elsewhere. She says the vision is that the same amount of money spread out over more schools, only the best would survive. If a public school has to compete with the charter or private school, it will find a way to become better.
But she asked, how can they improve if you take even more money from them? It’s just not possible.
SCOTT: So, let’s look at Success Academy in New York City where you see the populations are about 87 percent minority and yet their schools are the top in the state of New York. What we’ve seen very consistently, charter schools gets about half the money as public schools, yet there are public charter schools that provide choice for the parents and better quality education.
Out of the top 25 percent of high schools in the nation, more than — about 12 or about half of those are charter schools. So what we’re seeing around the country is a success of some form of school choice.
And, by the way, I don’t care whether it’s a public school, a private school, a charter school, a STEM school, a home school, a virtual school, I want every child in every zip code to have quality education. That should improve all aspects of education, not reduce funding.
BREAM: So, I asked Ambassador Haley about this last week, that this article that says the GOP — essentially U.N. Ambassador Haley give GOP cover on message of grace. It says, Scott’s message is that racism is not an institutional or systemic problem, but an individual failing. That’s precisely what conservatives want to hear so they can say, well, I’m not a racist, which means we don’t have to do much of anything about racism.
SCOTT: The only word I can think of is hogwash. The fact of the matter is I was Austin on Friday having a conversation with several hundred GOPers and we talked specifically about how the Jim Crow South impacted my family specifically.
My grandfather made the choice to be stubborn in his faith, his faith in the future, faith in himself and faith in this nation. But we had to overcome those challenges.
What I don’t like is when we hear President Biden talk about Jim Crow 2.0 when my family lived through Jim Crow, and that’s when you had to figure out the number of jellybeans in the jar in order to cast a ballot. To suggest that the current Georgia election laws are consistent with Jim Crow is just a lie.
And so, what we have to do is make sure that we arm our people today with the challenges of today and not pretend like we’re living in 1923 as opposed to 2023.
BREAM: All right. So, we have to go, Senator, but do you have a timeline for making an announcement or decision?
SCOTT: Well, I’m going to — I made a decision to go to church at 11:30 today.
BREAM: I will be following you there after the show as well.
When you decide about your political future —
BREAM: — please let us know.
SCOTT: Yes, ma’am. Have a great day.
BREAM: Senator, thank you.