Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., endorsed Donald Trump for president, becoming the latest former GOP primary opponent of Trump to back his 2024 campaign to return to the White House.
He made the endorsement official during a Trump rally in New Hampshire Friday night.
Scott, who was the only Black candidate in the Republican presidential primary race, is the highest-ranking Black Republican in the United States.
Democrats and advocates swiftly dismissed Scott’s endorsement of Trump, slamming the South Carolina senator for supporting the former president’s “extreme” policies and undemocratic agenda.
“No one is less surprised than me that Tim Scott would throw his full support behind Donald Trump’s plans to ban abortion nationwide, destroy our democracy, rip away access to affordable health care, and give more tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of working families,” said Christale Spain, the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party.
“They’re the same dangerous policies he’s been parroting in our state for years,” Spain said of Scott. “[His] endorsement makes clear what we’ve been saying all along – Tim Scott is just as MAGA as Donald Trump, and their extreme agenda would be a disaster for this country.”
Markus Batchelor, national political director at People For the American Way, said, “Any impression that Tim Scott stands in defense of democracy over his own ambition will die tonight on a stage in New Hampshire.”
He added, “Tim Scott is doing now what he’s always done: sacrificed principle and ignored hard facts to advance politically.”
Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist, told theGrio that Scott, as a presidential candidate, was “very methodical” in not really attacking Trump, who is without question the frontrunner to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.
“That gave hint to the fact that he wants to leave the door wide open for an opportunity to reunite with Trump,” said Seawright, who has worked on several national election campaigns.
Scott has long been considered on the shortlist as Trump’s vice presidential running mate, and his endorsement will continue to fuel those rumors.
As Republicans continue to fight against criticisms of their overwhelmingly white party and their inability to attract Black voters, Scott would bring diversity to the ticket and a direct comparison to the Democratic ticket, which is almost certain to be President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, America’s first Black, first woman and first Asian-American in that post.
Seawright argued that as the election shapes up this year and Democrats “remind folks of people’s record and where they stand on the issues, especially those related to [the Black] community, like policing…or voting rights,” Black voters will have “enough material to make a very educated decision.”
Batchelor said that Scott has “shown through his short stint as a presidential candidate that he’s willing to be the GOP’s apologist on race.”
The U.S. senator and the entire Republican presidential field, he argued, “blatantly ignored the real threat white supremacy poses to Black lives and American democracy.”
“The fact that he happens to be Black while doing it will make the insult to Black voters more clear,” added Batchelor.
As Democrats warn voters of what they say would be a Trump presidency of dictatorship and the erosion of democratic norms, Seawright dismissed any suggestion that Scott, who has served in the U.S. Senate for more than a decade, would quell those concerns or bring civility to a hypothetical second Trump administration.
“When Trump was president, Tim Scott tried to balance out Donald Trump and his extremism. That didn’t work from afar, and I do not think it would work up close,” he said.
“The former president had a former governor and a member of Congress as his political partner in the White House the last time,” he said, referring to former Vice President Mike Pence, “and it did not work.”
Gerren Keith Gaynor is a White House Correspondent and the Managing Editor of Politics at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.
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