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Scott: Government Cannot Make Us Get Along

In outlining 3 solutions, the South Carolina Republican shared more personal stories

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., received praise from colleagues after his floor speech on Wednesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., received praise from colleagues after his floor speech on Wednesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A day after his passionate speech sharing incidents when police stopped him as a senator , South Carolina Republican Tim Scott shared his ideas for what the country can do about it.  

“There is obviously no single solution here,” Scott said on the Senate floor. “Believe it or not, the government is not the answer to what ails us.”  

He outlined three solutions to the sometimes-fraught relationship between African Americans and law enforcement, including personal approaches, improved police training and federal legislation.  

He began by sharing the story of his 94-year-old grandfather, a cotton farmer who died this year. “From cotton to Congress in one lifetime, we are a beautiful nation,” he said. “We must remember that we are one single family, we can all get to where we’re going.”  

Scott spoke on how he grew in poverty, nearly flunked out of high school and how his life was changed by his “momma” and a Chick-fil-A operator, who was white.  

“My life is a testament to God’s love, a mother’s love and the love of my mentor,” he said.  

“My life story is a story of second chances, a love story of sorts. It’s a dark hour in race relations for America, but I bring you hope,” he said, adding that he’s hopeful because South Carolina elected him, a black man, to the Senate.  

His first solution is to act on a personal level. He presented the story of a black Dallas surgeon who worked to save the lives of the white Dallas police officers shot last week.  

“He said he is making sure his daughter sees him buying lunch for officers,” so he doesn’t pass on to her any sense of fear, but respect, for police.  

Another solution would be training to help police deescalate conflicts and move officers out of their cars and into communities, where they can  get to know the people they serve.  

Passing some of his legislation and developing a Senate version of the working group on police-community relations the House developed this week could also ease tensions, Scott said.  

“If an officer is wearing [a body camera], we have a much better chance of understanding the situation from all sides,” he said, touting his bill to provide resources for police departments to obtain body cameras.  

Scott’s series of speeches followed the events of last week when two African-American men were killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, and another shot and killed five Dallas police officers in apparent revenge.  

His Wednesday floor speech , describing his own troubling encounters with law enforcement, received praise from lawmakers on either side of the aisle.  

“[It’s had] a lot of reactions — the vast majority — so I’m very thankful for that,” Scott told reporters on Thursday.  


[ Scott: Police Asked for ID Even When Wearing His Senator’s Pin ]
“If you look at the void between Minnesota and Baton Rouge and Dallas — that window of opportunity to say something — both parties did not do very well,” he added. “We had 11 senators respond, during that window, out of 100.”  

Scott reiterated his view that the relationship between African Americans and law enforcement is not a partisan issue.  

“That’s part of the challenge, anytime we see … any issues of race or sensitive issues, one side feels like if they give an inch somehow they’ve lost,” he said.  

Colleagues tweeted at him touting his speech, including South Carolina Republicans Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Mark Sanford as well as Sens Steve Daines, R-Mont., Christopher S. Coons, D-Del., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb.

Following Thursday’s floor speech, Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on the floor that he is “tremendously impressed” with Scott.
 

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