Republican Sen. Tim Scott expanded on his “America is not racist” comment he made in response to President Joe Biden’s speech last week, saying Sunday that the Democrats’ solution of taking “from some to give to others” doesn’t work.
“The question is, is there a lingering effect after a couple of centuries of racism and discrimination in this nation,” Scott told “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson on Sunday. “The answer is absolutely. The question we should be debating and fighting over is how do we resolve those issues going forward. One side says, ‘I’m going to take from some to give to others.’ Fighting bigotry with bigotry is hypocrisy; it just doesn’t work.”
Dickerson questioned Scott’s reasoning, saying that communities of color have been disproportionately affected by COVID “and that that’s laid bare a lot of the inequities. So you’re, you’re not saying that then making sure that there’s money that goes to those Black communities is a bad thing?”
Scott responded with an example. He pointed to a $4 billion stimulus package included as part of Biden’s and the Democrats’ recently passed $2 trillion American Rescue Plan. The package provides loan forgiveness to farmers of color in an effort to counter decades of racial discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has been hit with lawsuits by Black farmers in 1999 and 2010. But the package has now been hit with its own lawsuit filed by white farmers in four Midwestern states.
“When you pass a COVID package with $2 trillion of spending, and in your package you hide in there: If you are a black farmer, we will give you resources, but if you are a white farmer, you’re excluded from those same resources,” Scott said. “That’s taking from one to give [to] the other.”
Scott, the only Black Republican senator, was selected to provide the GOP response to Biden’s first speech to Congress since taking office. His comment that America is not a racist country prompted a backlash from Democrats and leftists, with Twitter eventually stepping in after the derogatory phrase “Uncle Tim” — a play on the Civil War-era phrase “Uncle Tom,” referring to an exceedingly subservient person of color — began trending in the hours following the speech.
“Tim Scott’s denial of American racism is so triggering because having a Black person publicly deny its existence in a major public forum gives power to people who prefer to deny racism so they can avoid combatting it so they can maintain the white supremacist status quo,” former MSNBC host Toure tweeted on Friday.
But in response to Scott, Biden said, “I don’t think America is racist, but I think the overhang from all of the Jim Crow and before that, slavery, have had a cost and we have to deal with it.”
Scott thanked Biden on “Face the Nation,” for his response, but when digging into the potential solutions for addressing racial inequality, there were still major differences. On the matter of police reform, Scott said that he believes Congress is “closer” to passing laws against no-knock warrants and chokeholds and is pushing his own proposal to allow civil lawsuits to be filed against police departments instead of individual officers in order to force a culture change in departments.
But Scott joined Republicans in opposing Biden’s corporate tax rate increase from 21% to 28%, which Biden says will provide for more programs that benefit underserved communities. Even though that rate is still lower than the 35% corporations faced under Barack Obama, Scott says the raise would “rebalance the world against American workers.”
“You cannot compete in a global competition with higher taxes versus lower taxes and expect to win more of the contracts. That’s kind of simple,” he said.