Tim Scott wades into the reckoning over race and police: ‘I’m one person’
Tim Scott doesn’t regularly seek out the spotlight. Yet the spotlight has a way of finding him anyway.
And there might be no bigger moment so far for the South Carolina senator than this one. Scott has been tasked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to do the near-impossible: Assemble a set of reforms that responds to the national outrage over police killings of African Americans and also satisfies President Donald Trump, conservative Republicans and enough Democrats to become law.
“The thing that really anchors me, especially in these challenging times, is when you realize that it’s not about you. It’s about you being a resource for hopefully greater good,” Scott said in an interview. He grew increasingly introspective when asked whether he enjoys being the center of attention on issues of race and policing.
“The purpose really can’t be me at this moment. The purpose is that there are literally tens of millions of Americans who’ve lost confidence in institutions that have authority,” Scott said. “As a victim of that situation many times, including this year, how do I make sure that my experience and not myself becomes the focal point?”
Scott is expected to release his police reform proposal later this month. So far, he envisions legislation far different than what Democrats have proposed, one aimed at getting local departments to behave better without implementing stern new regulations from Washington. Scott is a deeply conservative politician and his ideas may struggle to find support among Democrats seeking big changes amid the national reckoning sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
For now, he’s not advocating a chokehold ban but instead looking to improve data collection and creating incentives for police to reduce their use of force. He’s also not trying to make it easier to sue police, a key Democratic ask. He says those provisions won’t get across the finish line, arguing that it’s not about just writing a good bill, but writing a good bill that can pass.
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