Tim Scott showed off his world renown patience this week when an NBC News anchor decided it was acceptable to ask a sitting U.S. Senator if he’s a token and being “used” by his political party.
This happened during an interview in the 3rd hour of the TODAY show.
Here are the excerpts via Fox News.
Scott has been leading the effort in the Senate among Republican lawmakers in pursuit of police reform. However, the “Today” host questioned whether Scott’s party was maximizing the only black GOP senator to its advantage.
“You have faced a fair amount of criticism, especially over the past few days, because you are the only black Republican senator,” Melvin said during an interview. “Some have said that your party is using you, they’ve even thrown around the word ‘token,’ as well. Your response to that criticism?”
This question is just ridiculous. Is it possible Tim Scott actually believes what he’s pushing for? That certainly seems probable, but this is a game often played by “journalists.” They use the “some people say” qualifier to ask Republicans things they would never ask to a Democrat. Further, it’s a way to couch their own biases by hiding behind what in this case are Twitter trolls. Yes, some people on the internet have called Scott racist names. Why is that worthy of NBC News parroting and giving credence to?
Asking a black man who’s always stood by his convictions if he’s a token is one of the more racist things I can image a supposed news outlet doing. Let’s also note that there are only two Democrat senators in Congress. Why has Kamala Harris never been asked such a question? It’s not like she hasn’t done more pandering in her political career than most. Is she a token because the other 45 Democrats in her conference aren’t black?
Scott went on to handle it better than I likely would have.
“Well, I am also the only person in my conference who has been racially profiled driving while black,” Scott said. “I’m the only one in my conference that’s been stopped seven times in one year as an elected official, perhaps the only one in my conference wearing this Senate pin that was stopped from coming into the building. So if there’s someone in the conference who understands discrimination and profiling, it’s me. It’s the reason why I asked to lead this charge, because it is a personal issue, it is the right issue. And frankly, I think it helps to have someone who’s been a victim of this situation and who still has a tremendous respect for where our country can go together.”
He continued, “So I shrug those comments and criticisms off. But you’ve got to know, when you’re a black Republican, you’re like a unicorn. People are going to criticize you when you wake up, when you go to sleep, if you say you like apple pie and football, there’s a lot of critics for that, too. So God bless their souls.
What Scott is saying should be obvious. Of course he has strong feelings about police reformation. He’s lived through some of the consequences of bad policing precisely because he’s black. That doesn’t make him a token. It makes him a man with lived experiences that influence his outlook.
But hey, if Democrats are really worried about there only being one black GOP senator, I’ve got a solution for them. Campaign and help elect John James in Michigan. If they are truly worried about racial disparities, their own previous standards say that’s exactly what they should do. Anyone think they actually will?