Sen. Tim Scott’s entry into the Republican presidential field saw him greeted with a familiar attack from progressive media that alluded to his skin color.
Co-host of “The View” Whoopi Goldberg remarked he had “Clarence Thomas syndrome,” comparing him to the conservative Black Supreme Court Justice who, like Scott, has endured liberal criticism over the years with blatant racial undertones.
The lone Black Republican in the Senate, Scott, R-S.C., officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Monday and referenced multiple racially tinged attacks from the left over the years.
“I’m the candidate the far left fears the most,” Scott said Monday. “When I cut your taxes, they called me a prop. When I refunded 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 disrupts their lies!”
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Goldberg suggested he had “Clarence Thomas syndrome” while discussing his announcement on Monday, implying that he ignores the issues facing African Americans and think anyone can make it if they try despite an unfair system. Thomas has been called “Uncle Clarence” by figures like MSNBC’s Joy Reid in a clear reference to the derogatory “Uncle Tom” term for Blacks viewed as servile to Whites.
“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’s the exception and not the rule. And until he’s the rule, then he can stop talking about systemic racism,” co-host Sunny Hostin said during Monday’s episode of “The View.”
“The View” co-host Joy Behar argued on Tuesday that Scott “doesn’t get it.”
“He’s one of these guys, like Clarence Thomas, Black Republican, who believes in pull yourself up by your bootstraps, rather than understanding the systemic racism that African Americans face in this country and other minorities. He doesn’t get it. Neither does Clarence. That’s why they’re Republicans,” she said.
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The inability to separate Scott’s race from his message has confounded far-left critics for years.
Reid has particularly raged at him, repeatedly suggesting that he is a token and a prop for the Republican Party. That continued Monday when the far-left show’s blog said Scott, long a key party voice for economic and cultural reforms, was “known for political minstrelsy: embarrassing public acts meant to amuse white bigots and ameliorate their policies in the public eye.”
Reid claimed in 2021 that Scott was only at a press conference opposing a minimum wage increase to create a “patina of diversity.”
“You’ve got to love Tim Scott standing there to provide the patina of diversity over that round of words, that basket full of words,” Reid told Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash during an episode of “The Reidout.”
Scott’s press secretary Caroline Anderegg flagged the exchange and blasted Reid, saying Scott was “not a prop.”
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Scott responded to Reid’s comments as well and said “woke supremacy” was just as bad as “White supremacy.” Another time, Reid tweeted that Scott was a minion to fellow South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, R., and party leaders had been allowed to “dog-walk him and destroy police reform.”
Reid has over the years shown strong discomfort with Black conservatives, with her disparaging racial remarks about Thomas also drawing criticism.
Scott notably offered the rebuttal to President Biden’s address to Congress in 2021, hitting some of the same positive notes about the U.S. that rankled liberals in his 2023 announcement address. After his 2021 speech, “Uncle Tim” began trending on Twitter among left-wing users.
“Intolerance so often comes from the left with words like ‘Uncle Tim’ and the ‘n-word’ being used against me,” Scott said at the time. “And last night what was trending in social media was ‘Uncle Tim,’ and they doubled down on this concept of liberal oppression. It is stunning in 2021 that those who speak about ending discrimination want to end it by more discrimination.”
“The left has doubled down that they are going to, not attack my policies, but they’re literally attacking the color of my skin,” he added.
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Even late-night host Jimmy Kimmel has attacked the senator as a token Black Republican.
“An amazing thing happened after the speech,” Kimmel said during his show in April 2021. “Every Black Republican Senator got together to let the American people know the Republican Party isn’t racist.”
Former MSNBC host Tiffany Cross criticized Scott’s rebuttal as well, accusing him of pushing a “false narrative.”
She said she wouldn’t fact-check his speech because she didn’t want to “argue with people Harriet Tubman would have left behind.”
She also described him as a “token” and a “tap dancer” for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Reid and MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan seemed annoyed by Scott’s use of a famous Martin Luther King quote during his announcement speech on Monday.
“Tim Scott reminding us that even Black Republicans only have that one go-to MLK quote,” Hasan posted on Twitter. “As for ‘content of character’, Scott was a Trump enabler.”
Reid opened her discussion of his announcement by joking, “Are you excited? Tim Scott, the lone Black American in the United States Senate is running for president.”
Far-left The Nation correspondent Elie Mystal, writing about Scott as he did so, tweeted Monday, “I’m not going to write about Tim Scott and you can’t make me.”
Scott’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.