U.S. Sen. Tim Scott implored President Donald Trump to get to know people who have experienced “the horror and the pain” of America’s racial history, days after the president made widely-criticized remarks about white supremacists.
“We are in a very critical and sensitive time in this nation,” Scott, R-South Carolina, said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation. “We need our president to sit down with folks who have a personal experience, a deep connection to the horror and the pain of this country’s provocative racial history.
“If the president wants to have a better understanding and appreciation for what he should do next,” Scott continued, “he needs to hear something from folks who have gone through this painful history.”
The comments from South Carolina’s junior senator came eight days after a man plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protestors at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., killing a woman and injuring nearly two-dozen people.
In his initial remarks on the attack, Trump criticized violence at the event on “many sides” without singling out white supremacists. After bipartisan criticism, Trump on Monday condemned white supremacists and declared “racism is evil.” But on Tuesday, the president again said there is “blame on both sides” for the deadly clash, adding that “there were very fine people, on both sides” at the rally. Those remarks drew praise from white supremacists, including the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Scott said earlier in the week that Trump’s “moral authority” had been “compromised” by the remarks, a statement he stood by Sunday, adding that meeting with people who lived through the violent racism of the 1950s and 60s would allow Trump to “better educate” himself.
“Without that personal connection to the painful past, it would be hard for him to regain that moral authority, from my perspective,” he said. “... That’s what America wants to see, that’s what we’re seeing in so many of the counter-protests.
“We’re seeing America rise in a way that it did not in the (1960s), which I think is powerful and symbolic to the rest of the world that we reject the darkness and embrace the light,” he continued. “These are good times for those who believe that darkness must be put out and light must shine even brighter.”