Scott, the lone black Republican in the Senate, has taken the lead on police reform for the GOP.
‘I’m excited and honored for this opportunity to address the nation,’ he said. ‘We face serious challenges on multiple fronts, but I am as confident as I have ever been in the promise and potential of America. I look forward to having an honest conversation with the American people and sharing Republicans’ optimistic vision for expanding opportunity and empowering working families.’
Biden will address the nation from the well of the House of Representatives next Wednesday, April 28, ahead of his 100th day in office.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina will give the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s address to the Joint Session of Congress next week
Scott was a member of the House of Representatives when then-S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to fill one of the state’s Senate seats in 2013. He then won it in his own right in 2014 special election. In addition to his political career, Scott owns an insurance agency, Tim Scott Allstate.
During the Trump administration, Scott met with then-president Donald Trump at the White House to talk about race relations in the wake of Trump’s comments after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where Trump said there were ‘very fine people’ on both sides. He also defended Trump on his Proud Boy comments, saying the then-president ‘misspoke.’
Scott also worked with Ivanka Trump on getting the child tax credit doubled.
He is up for re-election in 2022 and Donald Trump gave him his ‘complete and total’ endorsement, calling him ‘Strong on the Military, Law Enforcement, loves our Vets, protects our Second Amendment and our Borders.’
The response to a presidential address is seen as a possible star-making role for a member of the opposing party. Stacey Abrams gave the response for Democrats to one of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union addresses.
But the platform also can be fraught with peril. There is a long list of politicians on both sides of the aisle who have bombed – Senator Marco Rubio famously stopped speaking to take a drink of water when he gave the response to one of Barack Obama’s speeches.
By picking Scott, GOP leaders focused their response to the president on Congress and the role it will play in countering Biden’s legislative agenda as opposed to picking a Republican who is weighing a 2024 presidential bid.
Scott is set to introduce his police reform bill in a few weeks and has spoken a potential compromise with Democrats Rep. Karen Bass and Sen. Cory Booker.
‘I think we are on the verge of wrapping this up in the next week or two, depending on how quickly they respond to our suggestions,’ Scott told reporters.
Scott said that there are ‘really only four or five outstanding issues from my perspective’: The 1033 program, which provides local and state police with military equipment, ending qualified immunity, and a federal ban on chokehold and ‘no-knock’ warrants.
Biden is also expected to address police reform in his speech, which will be his most high-profile public address since his remarks on Inauguration Day.
‘He believes the bar for convicting officers is too high,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. ‘It needs to be changed.’
Police reform has returned to the forefront in the wake of Derek Chauvin being convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Psaki said Biden supports a bill that would ban chokeholds and require that deadly force only be used as a last resort in arrests.
That bill has passed in the House of Representatives but faces a rough time in the closely divided Senate.
President Joe Biden will address the nation next Wednesday, April 28, in his most high-profile public speech since Inauguration Day
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden is still finalizing what will go in the speech
Biden will also reveal a new legislative item in his address, a ‘human infrastructure’ plan called the American Families Plan. Its price tag could top $1 trillion.
It will focus on social programs such as child care and education.
‘A core of that will be him laying out the specifics of the American Families Plan, his commitment to child care, to education, and to delivering on those middle class priorities,’ Psaki said.
‘On his mind are issues like police reform, health and his commitment to expanding access to health care,’ she continued. ‘So I expect he’ll talk about a range of issues.’
Psaki noted that the speech is still being finalized.
‘We’re working through’ the content and what will make the final cut, she said at Thursday’s press briefing, adding ‘unless you want to sit through a seven hour speech, which I don’t think you do.’
Only 200 tickets will be available for Biden’s speech due to COVID protocols. Democrats are already jockeying for one of limited spots allocated for lawmakers, administration officials and guests while many Republicans are expected to boycott.