WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — U.S. Sen. Tim Scott said, “America is not a racist country” as he delivered the Republican Party’s response to President Joe Biden’s address to Congress Wednesday evening.
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.”
Biden and other Democrats have cited institutional racism as a major national problem.
While acknowledging that “our healing is not finished,” Scott suggested that Democrats and liberals have turned the race issue upside down.
“It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination,” he said, without providing examples of what he meant. “And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
He added, “Race is not a political weapon to settle every issue the way one side wants.”
The South Carolina senator also criticized Democrats for refusing to open schools earlier amid the pandemic and shifted credit away from the Biden administration for the drop in COVID-19 cases and rising vaccination rates.
“Locking vulnerable kids out of the classroom is locking adults out of their future. Our public schools should have reopened months ago. Other countries’ did. Private and religious schools did. Science has shown for months that schools are safe,” Scott said.
“This administration inherited a tide that had already turned,” Scott said. “The coronavirus is on the run!”
Scott credited the previous administration of Donald Trump with rolling out a vaccine. At the time President Trump left office 16,525,281 vaccines had been administered to Americans. Today, that number stands at 234,639,414.
The 10-year veteran of Congress pointed to low unemployment numbers among minorities before the pandemic began as proof that the country was headed in the right direction before March 2020. He added the 2017 tax cut, which President Biden derided in his speech, was part of the solution.
“Our best future won’t come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams. It will come from you — the American people,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.