In the final major speech at the Republican convention on Monday, South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott powerfully called on voters to look at the actions of each presidential candidate to guide them in the voting booth, and used his story of success as an example for the night’s theme – “Land of Promise.”
Scott, the only Black Republican in the US Senate, opened by bringing up the coronavirus and invoking the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor – two unarmed African Americans who were killed by police this year.
“(O)ur country is experiencing something none of us envisioned. From a global pandemic, to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, 2020 has tested our nation in ways we haven’t seen for decades,” Scott said.
Scott said that this coming election is “not solely about Donald Trump and Joe Biden. It’s about the promise of America.”
Scott, who has called some of President Donald Trump’s tweets “indefensible” and “racially offensive” told voters to “not to look simply at what the candidates say … but to look back at what they’ve done.”
He charged that Biden would not defend minority communities, bringing up Biden’s support for a 1994 crime bill often blamed for disparities in the US criminal justice system, and criticizing his inaction to assist Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“Joe Biden said if a Black man didn’t vote for him, he wasn’t truly Black. Joe Biden said Black people are a monolithic community. Joe Biden said poor kids can be just as smart as white kids. And while his words are one thing, his actions take it to a whole new level,” Scott added.
The senator also criticized cancel culture and boasted economic opportunities for minorities he said were made possible by Trump and the Republican agenda.
“We are always striving to be better. When we stumble, and we will, we pick ourselves back up and try again,” Scott said. “We don’t give in to cancel culture, or the radical – and factually baseless – belief that things are worse today than in the 1860s or the 1960s.”
Scott sought to cast the GOP vision for the country as one of opportunity for all Americans – praising school choice, touting opportunity zones and describing his electoral success in an overwhelmingly White district as one where “voters judged me not on the color of my skin, but on the content of my character.”
The senator was a driving force behind legislation for the creation of opportunity zones, which Trump signed into law. Earlier Monday afternoon, the President signed an executive order focused on opportunity zones and putting federal facilities in “distressed communities.”
Biden and his vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, “want a cultural revolution” that’s “a fundamentally different America,” which will look like “a socialist utopia,” Scott said.
“History has taught us that path only leads to pain and misery, especially for hard-working people hoping to rise,” Scott added.
The South Carolina senator concluded by speaking about his grandfather, who “suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third grader to pick cotton, and never learned to read or write.”
“Our family went from Cotton to Congress in one lifetime,” Scott said. “There are millions of families like mine across this nation … full of potential seeking to live the American Dream. And I’m here tonight to tell you that supporting the Republican ticket gives you the best chance of making that dream a reality.”