South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the single black Republican in the Senate, met with chewed-up action figure Donald Trump on Wednesday. The meeting was for Scott to express his displeasure with Trump’s disgraceful response to Charlottesville—in which Trump failed to condemn neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists and blamed the fatalities of two officers and a peaceful anti-racist counterprotester on “both sides.”
According to a source knowledgeable about the meeting, NPR reports that the conversation stemmed from Scott’s comments to CBS’s Face the Nation in August in which he said, “If the president wants to have a better understanding and appreciation for what he should do next, he needs to hear something from folks who have gone through this painful history.” In an interview with Vice, Scott called Trump’s “moral authority” into question over the response to Charlottesville.
But on Wednesday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders described the meeting as merely one Trump “wanted to have with the president, and the president wanted to have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the senator” to discuss race relations.
This was the same day that Sanders also told reporters, by the way, that ESPN should fire reporter Jamele Hill for (correctly) characterizing Trump as the “most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy.” (ESPN since issued an apology, which is absolutely shameful). So the White House sought to fire a member of the press for criticizing the president—a black woman who dared to call Trump and his policies bigoted.
The White House’s statement notably left out any mention of Charlottesville, too:
President Donald J. Trump and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina met today to discuss the Administration’s relationship with the African American community, the bipartisan issue of improving race relations, and creating a more unified country. President Trump remains committed to positive race relations and looks forward to continuing the dialogue with Senator Scott, the African American community, and leaders from diverse communities across the country, all of which have a wealth of perspectives and experiences with respect to this issue.
Oh, and the White House initially called him “Tom Scott.” Oops!
Though Scott has taken on the unenviable and isolating job of convincing a racist man that racism exists, he somehow seemed hopeful after the meeting. “I’ll let him discuss how he feels about it, but he was certainly very clear that the perception that he received on his comments was not exactly what he intended with those comments,” he told CBS News afterwards. Hmm. I am not quite as inclined to give our magnanimous president the benefit of any doubt, mostly because at this point there is no doubt that he and his administration are clearly very racist.