‘The Truth of My Life Disproves Their Lies’: GOP Sen. Tim Scott Launches Presidential Campaign in North Charleston

NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) formally launched his 2024 presidential campaign at Charleston Southern University at an event with thousands of supporters.

Scott brought his mother on stage with him as he announced his campaign, calling her his “favorite American” as he told his story of rising from poverty into the U.S. Senate.

“Mom, I love you,” Scott told her on stage in a powerful moment as he gave her flowers.

“For those of you who wonder if it’s possible for a broken kid from a broken home to rise above those circumstances, the answer is yes,” Scott said to thunderous applause.

“We live in the land where it is absolutely possible for a kid raised in poverty by a single mother in a single bedroom small apartment to one day serve in the People’s House and maybe even the White House,” Scott said.

In 2008, Scott ran for and won a seat in the South Carolina State House—and two years later, during the 2010 Tea Party wave, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Two more years down the road, in 2012, when then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) resigned to take over the Heritage Foundation, then-Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) appointed Scott to the U.S. Senate to replace him. Scott won the seat again in a 2014 special election and was reelected to full terms in 2016 and 2022. Now, Scott is seeking the presidency.

“I’m announcing today I’m running for president of the United States,” Scott said as the crowd chanted his name.

Moments after Scott said that, the microphone cut out for a minute or so–and as event staff figured it out, the audience kept chanting, “Tim Scott, Tim Scott, Tim Scott.”

Charleston Southern University, located in North Charleston, is Scott’s alma mater. After graduating in 1988, Scott worked as a financial adviser and insurance agent—and owns his own insurance agency, Tim Scott Allstate.

Senate GOP Whip Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the number two in Senate GOP leadership, endorsed Scott and appeared at his campaign launch to lead a prayer for the gathering at the outset. Endorsements from Thune and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)—South Dakota’s two U.S. senators—provide Scott major firepower right out of the gate from inside the party’s leadership. South Dakota bordering the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa is an added bonus for Scott with the pair of endorsements—signaling a strong opening bid in two of the first three states for Scott, since obviously he is from South Carolina and has been a U.S. Senator here for a decade.

“Tim Scott is the real deal,” Thune said. “He will make a great president.” Thune called Scott “an aspirational and inspirational candidate.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., speaks during the Senate Republicans press conference in the Capitol in Washington on June 7, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Scott leaned heavily in his announcement speech into his background, a powerful story of someone rising out of poverty to reach the highest levels of elected office in the nation. Scott, whose parents divorced when he was just 7 years old, shared a room and a bed with his older brother in their grandparents’ small dirt-road home as his single mother worked around the clock to make ends meet.

“My momma worked 16-hour days as a nurse’s aide — changing bedpans and rolling patients,” Scott said in his announcement speech, per prepared remarks. “It was hard work. It was not glamorous. But those 16-hour days put food on our table. And kept our lights on. They empowered her to move her boys out of a place filled with anger into a home full of love. My mom’s work ethic taught me there is dignity in all work.”

Most importantly, perhaps, throughout the announcement speech, Scott connected the dots of his personal story back to policy debates and major issues facing the nation happening now.

“My momma said we could be victims or victors — and she chose victorious,” Scott said. “But under President Biden, our nation is retreating away from work and dignity. Millions and millions of people have dropped out of the workforce entirely. And the share of working-age men choosing to work is the lowest it has ever been.”

President Joe Biden speaks during the annual House Democrats Issues Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel March 1, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Scott’s story has long inspired the American right, as despite his upbringing and his background—he is also the descendant of slaves—he is a conservative who does not believe the nation is a racist country and has spoken out against the radical left’s racial politics narratives.

Scott said here he is “the candidate the far left fears the most.”

“When I cut your taxes, they called me a prop,” Scott said. “When I re-funded the police, they called me a token. When I pushed back on President Biden, they even called me the N-word. I disrupt their narrative. I threaten their control. The truth of my life disproves their lies. I will proclaim these truths from the highest mountaintop and I will do so from the deepest valley. I will take our message to the boardroom and I will take it to the classroom. I will take it to a gymnasium filled with friends and the inner-city church surrounded by skeptics. I have lived the American dream. I have held the truth, the inalienable truth, that all men and women are created equal. And endowed by our Creator with the right to be free. Our party and our nation are standing at a time for choosing. Victimhood or victory? Grievance or greatness? I choose freedom and hope and opportunity.”

That’s a theme Scott has talked about publicly for years. Scott, when he gave his widely-acclaimed GOP response to Democrat President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress in 2021, hammered the left for racial hypocrisy.

“I have experienced the pain of discrimination,” Scott said in that 2021 address. “I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason. To be followed around a store while I’m shopping.”

“I remember, every morning, at the kitchen table, my grandfather would have the newspaper in his hands,” he continued. “Later, I realized he had never learned to read it. He just wanted to set the right example. I’ve also experienced a different kind of intolerance. I get called ‘Uncle Tom’ and the N-word — by ‘progressives’! By liberals! Just last week, a national newspaper suggested my family’s poverty was actually privilege… because a relative owned land generations before my time.”

Scott, in that 2021 address in response to Biden, added: “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.”

In his speech launching his 2024 White House bid, Scott referenced that 2021 speech again, making clear that the United States is not a racist country.

“I will be the President who destroys the liberal lie that our country is evil,” Scott said. “Two years ago I spoke to the nation and said America is not a racist country. We need to stop canceling our Founding Fathers and start celebrating them. Finally — my grandfather’s stubborn faith was not just faith in the goodness of our nation. It was faith in the goodness of our God Himself. I will be the President who stops the far left’s assault on our religious liberty. I will preserve one nation, Under God, indivisible — where we honor our Creator and respect every innocent life.”

Scott also zoned in on several major policy planks of his 2024 campaign, from securing the border and controlling immigration to strengthening the military to rebuilding the economy to confronting China and more.

Texas National Guardsmen reinforce a stretch of razor wire as migrants try to cross into the U.S., on the banks of the Rio Grande, as seen from Matamoros, Mexico, Thursday, May 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

“On my first day as Commander-in-Chief, the strongest nation on Earth will stop retreating from our own southern border,” Scott said. “If you don’t control your back door, it’s not your house. And if our southern border is unsafe and insecure, it’s not our country. Hundreds of people on the terrorist watch list are crossing our borders. Chinese nationals are flooding into Mexico to break in. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are doing nothing while 70,000-plus Americans lose their lives to fentanyl. Every county in this nation is a border county. The Left shut down your schools and churches in the name of slowing down a virus. But they won’t secure the border to protect your family from fentanyl. When I am President, the drug cartels using Chinese labs and Mexican factories to kill Americans will cease to exist. 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.”

Regarding China, Scott called the ongoing competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party a new Cold War—one he said he would win for the U.S. if elected president.

“It’s about our supply chains. It’s about medicines, microchips, and critical minerals,” Scott said. “It’s about China buying American farmland, infiltrating our airspace, and tracking our kids. It’s about President Xi siding with Putin and Iran. America can win this competition. But Joe Biden can’t. As President, I will rebuild a military so lethal and powerful that our adversaries will fear us and our allies will respect us. My father — who is here with us today — and my brothers have 85 years of combined military service between them. When I am President, our servicemembers will have every tool they need, and our veterans will have every resource they deserve. We will not try to be the world’s police force. But we will always defend our vital national interests and our people. And we will win the next century by the strength of our economy. China started this new economic Cold War, but America will finish it.”

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