WASHINGTON – Sen. Tim Scott accused Democrats on Wednesday of dividing the country and suggested they're wielding race as “a political weapon," using the official Republican response to President Joe Biden’s maiden speech to Congress to credit the GOP for leading the country out of its pandemic struggles and toward a hopeful future.
Scott, R-S.C., in his nationally televised rebuttal of Biden's address, belittled the new president's initial priorities — aimed at combating the deadly virus and spurring the economy — as wasteful expansions of big government.
“We should be expanding options and opportunities for all families," said Scott, who preaches a message of optimism while remaining a loyal supporter of former President Donald Trump, "not throwing money at certain issues because Democrats think they know best.”
Citing the partisan battle over Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which Congress approved over unanimous GOP opposition, Scott said: “We need policies and progress that bring us closer together. But three months in, the actions of the president and his party are pulling us further apart."
But the Senate’s only Black Republican saved some of his sharpest comments for the fraught subject of race. Scott recounted his rise from a low-income family and “the pain" of repeatedly being pulled over by police while driving but said, “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.”
Asked Thursday about Scott's comment, Vice President Kamala Harris told ABC's "Good Morning America, “No, I don't think America is a racist country but we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country.”
She added: “One of the greatest threats to our national security is domestic terrorism manifested by white supremacists. These are issues that we must confront, and it does not help to heal our country, to unify us as a people, to ignore the realities of that”
Biden and other Democrats have cited institutional racism as a major national problem.