South Carolina’s Sen. Scott: Fear was part of this presidential election

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday that fear was injected into this November’s election.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday that fear was injected into this November’s election. AP

South Carolina’s U.S. Senator Tim Scott during an appearance on the CBS news show “Face the Nation” Sunday said that it’s only natural for some people to look at the coming presidency of Donald Trump with fear.

Scott, a Republican, added that he hoped such concerns end up being baseless.

“Anyone who watched this election and did not see that fear was a part of both sides of the aisle missed the election,” he said. “I think we would have the same conversation had Hillary won, by the way, just perhaps a different perspective but the same conversation of fear and frustration. So what I say to folks is, let’s give Mr. Trump a chance. Let’s gauge progress in his administration by what he does. And I’m going to hold him accountable, like every single American should hold all of our presidents accountable.”

Speaking with John Dickerson, the show’s host, Sen. Scott, who is African-American, spoke about race relations in the United States, before, during and after the presidential election. The talk began with his reaction to the mistrial in the case against Michael Slager, the white former police officer charged in the shooting death of Walter Scott in North Charleston in 2015. Walter Scott was killed as he fled after a traffic stop. Cell phone video of the shooting showed that Walter Scott was shot in the back, while moving away from Slager.

Dickerson asked if Trump’s campaign promise to be a “law and order president” is seen as a provocation in the African American community. Scott said he hoped that it would, instead, be a positive thing.

“I see law and order as a good, constructive part of what makes a community safer,” he said. “So my approach and my perspective is that a law-and-order type of environment will be conducive for a higher quality of life…. I’m fairly optimistic about that concept of law and order.”

As for how Trump can best convince the African American community that he is working on behalf of all people, and not just those who supported him, Scott said he hopes to see a commitment to education.

“Every zip code in this country needs quality education,” he said. “If there’s not a quality school in your neighborhood, we should make sure that there is one, whether that’s charter schools or virtual schools or magnet schools or private schools.”

Matthew Schofield: 202-383-6066, @mattschodcnews