Sen. Tim Scott officially throws his hat in the ring — and does an impressive interview on FOX News

South Carolina senator Tim Scott officially declared his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in Charleston, S.C. yesterday.  (See Andrea Widburg's first-person account of the event here.)  Later that evening, he appeared live for an interview with former S.C. rep. Trey Gowdy, who is hosting the 8 P.M. E.T. hour on the FOX News channel this week.

Scott has served as the junior U.S. senator representing South Carolina since 2013.  He is what used to be called a Dark Horse in the race (no pun intended).  He is a youthful-looking 57 and represented his state in local and state politics before being appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2013 by Gov. Nikki Haley, who is herself a candidate for next year's Republican presidential nomination.  Scott has won re-election three times to the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Tim Scott announces his candidacy in Charleston, S.C. May 22, 2023 with a crowd behind him that looks like America.

Scott's interesting and impressive background and career are reasonably and fairly objectively documented at his Wikipedia bio.  The lengthy page and the references it cites are a compelling read.  My impression of Scott over the years, confirmed by the chronology and highlights of his career, is that he is a man of deep conviction who is extremely articulate in expressing his conservative viewpoint.

And so it was when he appeared on the FOX News channel Monday evening (video here).  Needless to say, he received a cordial reception from his former Republican colleague in the Congress, Trey Gowdy, who was guest-hosting the hour on FOX for the first of five nights from New York City.  On Sunday nights for the past year, Gowdy has hosted Sunday Night in America from Charleston, S.C., on FOX at 7 P.M. E.T., sometimes repeated later in the evening.

Gowdy, an attorney and former prosecutor, is a skillful interviewer, and the transcript of his conversation with Scott, provided by FOX News, is an interesting read.  In particular, Scott is capable of taking excellent advantage of the brief time that is allotted to most guests on the cable news channels.  And so it was yesterday evening.

(VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Joe Biden and the radical left are attacking every single rung of the ladder that helped me climb.

And that's why I'm announcing today that I'm running for president of the United States of America!


SCOTT:  I'm America!



TREY GOWDY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  That was Tim Scott earlier today.

Tim Scott did not grow up like most presidential candidates. He shared a room, not a house, a room, with his mother and his brother. He nearly failed out of school. His grandfather could not read or write, because, when others tell you the ceiling for your life is picking cotton, why bother?

But through education and hard work and opportunity and an unwavering faith in what this country can allow you to become, this grandson of a man who picked cotton eventually picked out a seat in Congress and then the Senate. And, today, he announced his candidacy to lead the country.

Trey Gowdy introduces his interview with Sen. Tim Scott using photos of a young Scott.

From Charleston, South Carolina, the birthplace of the Civil War pitting brother against brother, comes a man preaching unity and purpose and promise and optimism that America can do for others what it did for him.

Welcome to you, Senator Tim Scott. Thank you for joining us.

I leave the state for one day, and you announce that you're running for president of the United States.


GOWDY:  All right. Let me ask you this.


GOWDY:  Are there policy differences? I mean, there are other candidates announced and some other candidates that may get in the race.

Are there — is this a matter of policy differences, or is it a difference in implementing or communicating those policies that might be shared?

SCOTT:  Well, thank you, Trey.

I do think this is a difference in how we communicate. There's no question that my life disproves the lies of the radical left. Their culture of victimhood is eating away at the soul of America. I understand brokenness. I understand having low esteem. I understand stand nearly failing out of school.

But I also understand that we do not live in a nation of grievance. We live in a nation of greatness. So, allowing the life story to impact how we share the gospel of good news, of conservative values, conservative principles with the American people, that's the power of persuasion, having lived the story myself.

I believe that makes me uniquely qualified to push back on the radical left.

GOWDY:  Senator, it's been happening since you and I met each other. I'm a complete cynic, and you almost make me feel hopeful.


GOWDY:  The country is frustrated. It's angry. It's scared.

So, I mean, that's what the polling indicates. I mean, 75 percent of the country thinks that we are headed in the wrong direction. So can a — what I call a happy warrior, can a happy warrior prevail in an environment, given the mood of the country and the primary voters?

SCOTT:  Absolutely.

Everywhere I travel around the country, from Iowa to New Hampshire and throughout South Carolina, people are starving for hope. They're starving for something optimistic. But they have to know you have a backbone and you're talking about conservative values, conservative principles and conservative policies.

When people understand that you can be both, yes, optimistic, but strong with a backbone, they are attracted to this campaign. And so we're hoping to get across this country to continue to share our message. You can go to to get involved.

Trey Gowdy interviews Sen. Tim Scott live, FOX News channel, May 22, 2023.

GOWDY:  My guess, Senator, is that you were otherwise busy today and you missed "The View."

But I am going to play — if I'm wrong, stop me and I won't play the clip. But my guess is that you did not hear Sunny Hostin. So I'm going to play a clip for you and then ask you a question the other side.


SUNNY HOSTIN, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW":  One of the issues that Tim Scott has is that he seems to think because I made it, everyone can make it, ignoring, again, the fact that he is the exception, and not the rule.

And until he is the rule, then he can stop talking about systemic racism.


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW":  He's got Clarence Thomas syndrome. That's what it is.


GOWDY:  She seems to have made it too, by the way. She's a former federal prosecutor who's got a talk show.

SCOTT:  Yes.

GOWDY:  So, I mean, I think she's doing pretty good also.

SCOTT:  Absolutely.

GOWDY:  And she speaks to a broader point, and I know you don't like talking about it, but there are things that are said about you that will not be said about any other candidate.

And that's always been the case, as a black Republican...

SCOTT:  Yes.

GOWDY:  ... that you are judged in ways that other candidates are not.

So, here's the question. Can a guy that is seen as being nice and affable fight back in a presidential primary against what you just heard and the Democrats?

SCOTT:  Yes. Yes, absolutely. The answer is completely yes.

Meekness is not weakness. I believe in the Gospel. I believe Matthew 5:44 says, love your enemies. If you break in my house, I also believe in the Second Amendment. I'm going to make sure that we defend every single thing we love in this country.

We have to ignore the far left by disproving their lies by our actions. Here's the funny thing. The host Sunny, she wants to be judged by the content of her character, not the color of her skin. The fact of the matter is, America is the story of evolution, never-told story of evolution in too many of our schools that are indoctrinating our kids, instead of educating our kids.

I'm not the exception. I'm actually the rule. Every kid trapped in a failing school today can look at big — big liberals, big labor unions, and blame them. Every parent who wants a choice, look to the Republican Party. Look to the GOP. But, more importantly, look at Americans.

African Americans, Hispanic Americans, the majority of Americans all agree on school choice. What's in the way of that? What's in the way of providing a child with a better education and a better future? The radical left.

GOWDY:  You must scare the daylights out of the left. I mean, even your campaign logo cannot go uncriticized by people on the left. You must be their worst nightmare, Senator.

And I just — I swear, you put up with things that nobody else puts up with.

SCOTT:  Well, Trey, the good news is, I believe in America. I have faith in America, because I watched my grandfather.

As you talked about in the beginning, this is a man who could not read, who was picking cotton as a kid. He believed then what some doubt now, in the goodness of America. He told me himself. He said: "Son, you can be bitter or better, but you can't be both."

Too many people today doubt the goodness of America. Too many people today want to buy into bitterness and victimhood and grievance and despair. I say, not on my watch. Let's tell the whole story of America rising.

GOWDY:  From cotton to Congress to a candidate for the highest office in the land.

Senator Tim Scott from the great state of South Carolina, thank you for joining us.

SCOTT:  Yes, sir. God bless.

I haven't mentioned until now that Sen. Scott is a black man, an African American.  I hesitated to put that at the start of this blog post because I don't like focusing on a person's race, color, ethnic background, and so on especially right at the outset.  Scott is first and foremost a proud, God-fearing, conservative American man, as he says himself.  That and his record, IMHO, should be enough.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who has covered national politics, including a number of presidential races starting in 1972, and the politics and economics of health care, popular culture, and media for over five decades.  His web page with links to his work is  Peter's extensive American Thinker archive:  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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