Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina helped close out the first night of the Republican National Convention on Monday by saying that President Trump has had to clean up Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden’s messes when it comes to policies that are consequential for Black Americans.
Mr. Scott, the U.S. Senate’s lone Black Republican, said the 1994 crime bill Mr. Biden championed as a U.S. senator “put millions of Black Americans behind bars.”
He said the First Step Act, a bipartian sentencing and prison reform bill Mr. Trump signed in 2018, fixed some of the problems Mr. Biden helped create and ushered in a fairer criminal justice system.
Mr. Scott also said Mr. Biden “failed” Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country.
“Once again, to clean up Joe Biden’s mess, President Trump signed into law historically high funding for HBCUs, as well as a bill to give them permanent funding for the first time ever,” he said.
“So when it comes to what Joe Biden says he’ll do, look at his actions. Look at his policies,” Mr. Scott said. “Look at what he already did and what he didn’t do while he’s been in Washington for 47 years.”
Mr. Scott also noted Mr. Biden’s recent comments in which the former vice president said supporters of Mr. Trump “ain’t Black” and suggested that the Black community isn’t as diverse in attitudes as the Hispanic population.
“While his words are one thing, his actions take it to a whole new level,” he said.
In his speech, Mr. Scott also touted school choice and “Opportunity Zones” for hard-hit neighborhoods that he helped write into the 2017 GOP tax law.
He also said Mr. Biden’s “radical” Democrats are trying to “permanently transform” what it means to be an American.
“Make no mistake: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution - a fundamentally different America,” he said. “If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia. And history has taught us that path only leads to pain and misery, especially for hard-working people hoping to rise.”
Mr. Scott took the lead on Senate Republicans’ policing overhaul bill after the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, a Black man, while in Minneapolis police custody.
In an emotional floor speech, he had slammed comments from Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, who warned against taking a “token, half-hearted approach” - comments for which Mr. Durbin apologized.
“Democrats called our work a token effort and walked out of the room during negotiations because they wanted the issue more than they wanted a solution,” Mr. Scott said in his speech on Monday.
Mr. Scott’s legislation would incentivize police departments to ban chokeholds and calls for better reporting on the use of practices like “no-knock” warrants.
Senate Democrats blocked his legislation from advancing, saying they preferred a bill that passed the Democrat-led House that included bans on practices like chokeholds and instituted national use-of-force standards.
Mr. Scott, a former member of the U.S. House, was appointed by former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to replace former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, who left office in 2012.
Mr. Scott won a 2014 election to serve the final two years of Mr. DeMint’s term before he was re-elected in 2016.
Mr. Scott initially endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the 2016 Republican presidential primary contest.
The senator and his friend, former GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, took something of a comedy duo routine on the road to warm up for Mr. Rubio ahead of the 2016 South Carolina primary contest, which Mr. Trump won.