President Donald Trump makes a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House on August 14, 2017.
Trump's day-by-day response to Charlottesville
01:49 - Source: CNN

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Sen. Tim Scott also supported removing the Confederate flag in his state's capitol

The South Carolina Republican's comments Monday were critical of the President

Washington CNN  — 

Sen. Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, penned an op-ed on race relations for USA Today, arguing that the “greatest, underappreciated threat” the country faces “is the unraveling that occurs from the inside out.”

The op-ed published hours after President Donald Trump condemned racist groups by name Monday afternoon and two days after he declined to name them in his initial statement.

Scott tweeted Monday evening that Trump’s most recent statement would “have been more impactful” if he made them on Saturday during the violent fallout of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

While Scott said in his tweet that the President’s comments were “clear and specific,” he made no mention of Trump in the op-ed, focusing instead on broader themes of unity and diversity.

“There is nothing ‘right’ about racism and hate,” Scott wrote. “It’s a learned disease, and the best antidote is unity. This weekend’s events involving white supremacist groups are as disturbing and disgusting as they are heartbreaking. The attack was a stark reminder of the darkness of hate. We must come together, as we have before, to confront the issues that chip away at the very foundation of who we are and what we stand for as a country.”

Scott was among the high-profile political figures who teamed up with then-Republican Gov. Nikki Haley to support the removal of the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s state capitol grounds in 2015, after a gunman killed nine in a Charleston church because he said he wanted to start a “race war.”

In the op-ed, Scott said the nation’s response to Charlottesville “should mirror” the response to the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston.

“Condemnation of racism. Swift justice for a terrorist. And unity for the community that grieves,” he wrote.

Scott also argued that such a response “starts with calling the attack in Charlottesville by its name. This was an act of domestic terror, perpetrated by a hate-filled person attacking his fellow citizens.”

In Congress, Some Democrats have pressed committee leaders to hold hearings specifically focused on the domestic terror threats posed by white supremacist groups, but so far no House or Senate panel has scheduled a targeted session on the topic, according to multiple congressional aides.

Both chambers do plan annual hearings examining the broad terror threats in the fall where the issue is expected to come up.

“The Committee will hold our annual worldwide threats to the homeland hearing in September with key government leaders. Members will be able to ask questions about any and all pressing homeland threats, including acts of terror here at home,” a House Homeland Security committee aide told CNN.

As a way to address race relations, Scott and Republican Sen. James Lankford, who is white, started a challenge called “Solution Sundays,” urging people to eat dinner with people of a different race on Sundays.

Lankford and Scott told CNN’s Dana Bash in March that they started asking people in their home states and in Washington whether they had ever had someone of another race in their homes for dinner. After few people said yes, they said they realized that personal disconnect between races was a big part of the problem.

“For me, it’s hard to hate what you know,” Scott said. “And it’s just so simple. It’s hard to hate what you know.”