By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., announced Monday that he is running for president.
In his announcement, Sen. Scott gave a nod to his Christian faith and defended his record in the Senate, pointing to economic legislative efforts he led such as tax cuts and Opportunity Zones.
Sen. Scott told his family’s story, pointing to his grandfather who was born in Sally, South Carolina, in 1921 and dropped out of school in third grade to pick cotton.
“But my grandfather lived long enough to watch his grandson pick out a seat in Congress,” Sen. Scott said. “That’s the evolution of the country we live in. My family went from cotton to Congress in his lifetime, and it was only possible because my grandfather had a stubborn faith.”
Sen. Scott also hit on an array of hot-button issues such as the border, China, COVID-19 and fentanyl.
“They spent COVID locking kids out of the classroom, and now they are locking kids out of their futures,” he said. “And in Biden’s America, crime is on the rise and law enforcement is on retreat.
“They are demonizing, demoralizing and defunding police,” he added.
Sen. Scott also pledged to build the wall at the southern border.
“When I am President, the drug cartels using Chinese labs and Mexican factories to kill Americans will cease to exist,” Sen. Scott said. “I will freeze their assets. I’ll build the wall. And I will let the world’s greatest military fight these terrorists, because that’s exactly what they are.”
Sen. Scott also took shots at President Joe Biden.
“But unfortunately, under President Biden, our nation is retreating away from patriotism and faith,” he said. “The fewest people in 30 years think that their kids will be better off than their parents, and the radical left is pushing us into a culture of grievance instead of a culture of greatness.”
Sen. Scott aimed for an optimistic tone, focusing on “hope and opportunity.” His campaign slogan is “faith in America.” He has taken issue with what he characterized as Democrats’ victim mentality, pointing to how his family overcame through a “victor” mentality and hard work.
“My life disproves their lies,” he said.
Sen. Scott faces an uphill battle. Republican primary polling results released by Morning Consult last week put Scott at 1% support, well behind former president Donald Trump, who has 61%. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to announce his bid this week, came in at 18% support.
Mr. Trump posted on TruthSocial on Monday morning welcoming Scott to the primary and taking the opportunity to attack Gov. DeSantis, seen by many as the largest threat to Mr. Trump.
“Good luck to Senator Tim Scott in entering the Republican Presidential Primary Race,” Trump wrote. “It is rapidly loading up with lots of people, and Tim is a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally unelectable. I got Opportunity Zones done with Tim, a big deal that has been highly successful. Good luck Tim!”
The first GOP caucus is in Iowa on Jan. 22, 2024, while the first GOP primary is Jan. 30 of the same year in New Hampshire. However, the first cohort of states holding their presidential primary votes is in March of next year.