Politics & Government

SC Sen. Tim Scott says he's still backing Trump

Sen. Tim Scott visited students participating in Project SEARCH, and students who had earned jobs at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center Thursday morning.
Sen. Tim Scott visited students participating in Project SEARCH, and students who had earned jobs at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center Thursday morning. Spartanburg Herald-Journal

During a stop in Spartanburg Thursday morning, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott said he still supports Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump despite several prominent GOP lawmakers pulling support this week.

Scott echoed comments made earlier this week by U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy. Both Gowdy and Scott said they plan to support the Republican nominee, even after a recently released video from 2005 in which Trump makes vulgar remarks about groping women.

“When you think about his comments specifically, they’re indefensible, disgusting and oftentimes toxic,” he said. “At the same time, I think Hillary Clinton’s referral to African-American young men as ‘super predators’ is pretty toxic. I think calling millions of Americans ‘deplorables’ and ‘irredeemable’ is off the charts.”

Scott said he will continue to support his party’s nominee because Clinton has said offensive things as well.

“So if you’re looking for rationale for remaining supportive of my party, it’s because the other party’s nominee and their words are as vicious and challenging" Scott said.

Scott addressed both the presidential race and his own re-election bid after visiting students and interns with Project SEARCH at Spartanburg Medical Center.

He is facing a challenge from several candidates, including Bill Bledsoe of the Libertarian and Constitution parties and Democrat Thomas Dixon.

“We are putting a lot of focus on it (the re-election campaign); the good thing is, I don’t need much sleep,” Scott said. “My job doesn’t stop because I’m up for re-election. My primary responsibility is to serve the people of South Carolina as their United States senator. My part-time gig, so to speak, is running for re-election.”

Scott spent time speaking with students, project representatives and hospital employees before addressing the election.

Project SEARCH, a partnership between the hospital, Spartanburg School District 6, the Vocational Rehabilitation Department and Upstate Workforce Investment Board, teaches student-interns job skills and work ethics.

Of the 16 students who have participated in the program since its inception in 2014, 13 have found jobs, many of them at the hospital.

Mike Pearce, the food service director at the hospital, has worked with many of the students who have come through the program.

“They have a wonderful opportunity to grow and have meaningful work done,” Pearce said. “It’s a win-win.”

Tyler Porter was hired at the hospital after participating in the program. Porter was excited to share the details of his day with Scott.

“When a patient is ready to go, I take them around the hospital,” Porter told the senator. “I do the best I can to take care of the patient.”

Scott said it was encouraging to see a model like Project SEARCH helping students learn to be independent.

“I’m proud of these folks. I’m also very proud of the folks craving independence and a path forward. To see their smiles and their acclimation into the work space is really important,” Scott said. “Listening to their stories about their goals and their aspirations for independence, whether it’s a driver’s license or living on your own, those are the same goals that we have.”