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Opinion | Tim Scott was caught in the crossfire of Trump’s hate

Scott looked weak. Like he doesn’t have the courage to stand up for himself. 

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Gage Skidmore/Flickr

My guess is that Tim Scott blew it. He had a chance to prove to Donald Trump that he could be as hateful, vindictive and vengeful as Trump is.

Trump teed it up for him in New Hampshire after winning the GOP primary there. Scott, who has endorsed Trump, stood behind him on stage. 

Trump went in on Nikki Haley and suggested that Scott must hate her. Scott blew it. Not only did Scott sidestep declaring his hate for Haley, he profusely claimed to love Trump. 

Yuck.

Quick thinking, some might think. Rub the belly of the beast and maybe he’ll purr.

Maybe. But it also proved that Scott doesn’t harbor hate the way Trump does. He doesn’t have the stomach to be mean and nasty.

In Trump World, Scott is prey, not predator. He’s weak. Some might say a punk. Trump certainly would. 

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Yes, this is a harsh assessment. But hear me out. This is not about politics. Not about Scott being a Republican or a conservative.

And it’s absolutely not a backhanded attempt to denigrate him as an “Uncle Tom,” a pejorative routinely thrown at Black Republicans and conservatives. I learned early in life that while I may disagree with Black conservatives and Republicans, it’s inaccurate and unfair to characterize them that way.

My father was the one who enlightened me. The late Josiah Person, my dad, was a card-carrying Republican. I suspect this came up during the Jimmy Carter presidency. And after my dad died, I found his official Republican Party membership card amongst his things.

Josiah Person was no Uncle Tom. In fact, when it came to civil rights and politics, he was what used to be called a “race man.” Being black superseded his party affiliation. Which meant he was no fan of Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan.

Republican or not, Josiah Person didn’t tow the party line or lay prostrate before any man. He would have been just as repulsed by Scott’s reflexive acquiescence to Trump’s hateful manipulation as I am as a Democrat.

This is about character, not partisan politics.

Scott looked weak. Like he doesn’t have the courage to stand up for himself. 

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Like a man who has sold his soul, hope that Trump will make him his running mate in exchange for his pandering.

If that’s true, the joke’s on Scott. Because he’s obviously forgotten the one person he should be thinking about if he wants to be Trump’s vice-president.

Mike Pence.

Remember him? Trump’s former running mate and vice-president?

Pence seemed to roll over for Trump at every opportunity. Never showed any backbone – at least until tried to intimidate him into not doing his constitutional duty on Jan 6, 2021. 

And then I guess Pence braced himself for Trump’s wrath. Because Trump had already admonished him for being “too honest” when Pence insisted that he had to certify the election on Jan. 6th

“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said at the annual Gridiron Dinner last year, according to media reports. “I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”

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Maybe words such as “deserves,” as in Pence deserved the ire of the thugs who chanted “hang Mike Pence” on Jan. 6. Or “pussy,” which Trump reportedly called Pence after Jan. 6. 

That’s what Scott really should be thinking about. Trump turns on those who don’t genuflect sufficiently. Vicious attacks. And it wouldn’t just be Scott he’d attack. Trump would attack anyone Scott cares about.

Maybe his new fiancé, interior designer Mindy Noce. After all, Trump has attacked Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao. And Ted Cruz’s father.

Trump is no respecter of persons – at least adult persons. As far as I know, he hasn’t attacked anyone’s children. Yet.

Scott, like Pence, says he’s a devout Christian. He even met his fiancé at church. And last time I checked, hate isn’t part of Christian philosophy. 

Of course, this has never seemed to matter to Trump. The question is does it matter to Tim Scott. So far, unfortunately, it seems the answer is no.

David Person is a media personality and consultant who has been working in the Huntsville market since 1986 as a talk show host, columnist, and director/producer. David co-hosts the podcast Alabama Politics This Week.

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