Newly sworn-in U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is dismissing charges leveled by the NAACP’s national president that Scott doesn’t believe in civil rights.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., was named to five committees this week, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; Energy and Natural Resources; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Small Business; and Aging.Additionally, Scott’s temporary Washington office is located at 117 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. The office will be there for 30 to 60 days until a permanent space becomes available. Constituents may contact the office at 202-224-6121. An online contact form will be available at http://scott.senate.gov in the coming days.
“It’s ridiculous. He doesn’t know me,” Scott, R-S.C., said Friday while en route from Washington, D.C., to Charleston. “I think we all believe in civil rights for everyone.”
Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was widely quoted after appearing on CNN as saying Scott is a Republican who does not “believe in civil rights.”
He also said Scott regularly receives an “F” grade on the NAACP’s annual legislative report card of Washington.
Scott said he could not see into Jealous’ mind and would not attempt to explain his point of view or rationale for the statement.
“I’m not going to try to validate the comment whatsoever,” he said.
Scott, the coastal 1st District’s former congressman, was sworn in Thursday as only the seventh black senator in the nation’s history, filling the vacancy created when Jim DeMint resigned.
Jealous said he was proud that the Senate could boast one black senator during the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. But he added that he is disappointed by Scott’s track record, and said there was “nothing but room for him to improve.”
“We have Republicans who believe in civil rights,” he added. “Unfortunately, he is not one of them.”
Scott questioned the value of the group’s civil rights score card, since it includes things such as views on greenhouse gas emissions.
All the Republicans in the South Carolina congressional delegation received “F” grades from the NAACP for 2011, while the lone Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, received an “A.”
Scott said he joined the NAACP when he was younger, but wasn’t sure of his status now as a member.
“I don’t think I am,” he said.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.