U.S. Senator Tim Scott made it official Monday, launching his campaign for president in the North Charleston, SC, hometown that informed his core belief: That the United States of America is “the land of opportunity, not a land of oppression.”
Joined on stage by the single mother who raised him and the wife of the mentor who entered his adolescent life at a critical time, the Republican spoke of the opportunities that made him the man — and the presidential candidate — he is today. And the South Carolina Senator used his personal story to illustrate what he asserts is the lie of the left, that the “greatest country on God’s green earth” is a racist nation populated by the privileged and their victims.
“We live in the land where it is possible for a kid raised in poverty by a single mother in a small apartment to one day serve in the People’s House — and maybe even the White House,” Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, said to applause.
He spoke of his grandfather, born in 1921 in Salley, SC, in Deep Jim Crow South. He lived long enough to watch his grandson elected to congress, what Scott called the “evolution of the country we live in.”
Scott’s is an inherently optimistic vision, that he says dramatically differs from the left’s constant tilling in misery and victimhood of identity politics. He said he could have fallen into the trap of helplessness as a struggling teenager. He had people in his life who showed him a different future.
The newly minted Republican presidential candidate rolled out a campaign that reflects his grandfather’s vision of “patriotism over pity.”
“I chose personal responsibility over resentment. I became the master of my fate,” Scott said.
“But today, the Biden Administration has us retreating away from earned success, aspiration, and accountability,” he told supporters at his alma mater, Charleston Southern University. “[President Joe Biden] wants to make waitresses and mechanics pay the student loans of doctors and lawyers who make six figures. This Administration has taxed, borrowed, and spent trillions of dollars trying to replace a hand up with handouts. All they bought us was crushing inflation that has devastated families like mine.”
Scott will need all the optimism he can muster as he enters a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates. He joins fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley (former governor of the Palmetto State), millennial and political outsider Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, radio talk show host Larry Elder and frontrunner by far, former President Donald Trump on the list of declared GOP presidential candidates. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to file his candidacy paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission this week.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, who in 2020 unsuccessfully ran against South Carolina senior U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, said Scott is just another “MAGA” candidate entering the GOP field.
“Tim Scott wants to govern from the ‘far, conservative right’ as a proud member of the Tea Party, and his extreme record proves it,” Harrison said in a statement. “Even before he refused to name a policy difference with Trump, Scott was a fierce advocate of the MAGA agenda – supporting national abortion bans and championing plans to end Medicare and Social Security as we know them.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu are among the Republicans mulling a run for the White House.
Trump continues to dominate the polls. The former president leads DeSantis, his closest challenger for the GOP nomination, by nearly 37 percentage points (56.3% to 19.4%), according to the most recent RealClearPolitics average of polls. Pence is a distant 3rd, at 5.6 percent, followed by Haley (4.3%) and Ramaswamy (3.6%). Scott is polling sub-2 percent (1.8%) as he officially enters the race.
But there is a long way to go between now and early February, when Iowa Republicans hold the first-in-the-nation caucus to kick off the 2024 nominating season.
And Iowa is where Scott is going next.
According to his campaign, the candidate will tour a Christian school in Sioux City beginning at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He’s scheduled to host a town hall that evening beginning at 6:30 p.m.
“Iowans know that we cannot stand by as the radical left attacks our values, our schools, and all that makes our nation strong,” Scott said in a press released. “I’m excited to be in Iowa for my first trip after my major announcement because the men and women of the Hawkeye State know we must to turn this nation around.”
Scott’s campaign is launching TV ads in Iowa and its fellow first nominating state, New Hampshire this week. He plans to follow up his trip to the Hawkeye State with a campaign stop in New Hampshire Thursday.
Throughout his ramp up to a presidential run, Scott has kept his political fire trained on Biden and the left, not on potential Republican opponents. Expect the same now that he has officially entered the race.
“Joe Biden and the radical left are attacking every rung of the ladder that helped me climb,” he said. “And that is why I am announcing today that I am running for President of the United States of America!”
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photos “Tim Scott” by Tim Scott.