Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, announced a presidential race on Monday, accusing President Joe Biden of “leading the nation into retreat”.
He made the announcement in front of hundreds of supporters in North Charleston, South Carolina, delivering his signature message of hope, smeared with attacks on Biden and leaders who undermine what he sees as American values.
“Joe Biden and the radical left are attacking every rung of the ladder that helped me climb,” he said in a speech that told his own story of a tough upbringing through a conventionally conservative manifesto.
“And that is why I am announcing today that I am running for President of the United States of America.
“They attack our American values; our schools; our economy; our security. But not under my supervision.
Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, announced a presidential race on Monday, accusing President Joe Biden of ‘leading the nation in retreat’
He introduced his mother to hundreds of people before the official part of his speech, to thank her for making him the man he is today.
He made the announcement in his hometown, where he was raised by a single mother and grandparents, days after he formally filed his race with the Federal Election Commission.
He invited his mother Frances on stage to introduce her to the crowd.
“Thank you for your hard work and dedication,” he said. “Thank you for believing in me when no one else did.”
And he was able to draw on heavyweight support in the crowd of about 500 people in Charleston Southern University’s basketball area. Senator John Thune, the number two Republican in the Senate, opened the program with a prayer.
“Tim Scott is the real deal,” he said. “And he will make a great President of the United States.”
And former Gov. Mark Sanford was in attendance, though he avoided offering an endorsement.
Scott used his own story, of parents who divorced when he was seven and a mother who worked 16 hour days to keep food on the table, to attack Biden and what he sees as a nation turning away from American values.
He promised to rebuild every rung of the ladder that helped him climb.
Scott launched his campaign in his hometown of North Charleston, on the campus of Charleston Southern University
Hundreds of fans gathered on the bleachers and court of a basketball arena
“But under President Biden, our nation is retreating from work and dignity,” he said.
“Millions and millions of people have completely dropped out of the job market.
“And the proportion of working-age men choosing to work is the lowest ever.”
Scott catapults into a race already dominated by two huge tricks.
Donald Trump has benefited from his early entry into the race and is the clear favorite.
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to announce his candidacy later this week.
That leaves Scott trying to deliver a different message to the two frontrunners, who electrify their supporters and alienate swing voters in equal measure with their culture war tirades.
Whether that resonates with Republicans, who seem eager for a bitter feud with Democrats who continue to call for Trump’s prosecution, remains to be seen.
Among its strengths is its base in South Carolina, the kind of early primary state that can propel an outsider into a top position.
And he is known as a terrific fundraiser. He can count billionaire Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, who was in the crowd on Monday among his high profile supporters.
His supporters believe the time has come to move on from the bitter bashing of the Trump years.
“I think for too long the party has kind of focused on all the dark sides – over the last six, seven years – of what’s going on in America, said John Perez, who works in fintech , ‘and doesn’t really look at the good things that America brings to the table. I think the senator brings that out very well with his personal story.
He flew in from Virginia Beach for the launch and said he viewed the nomination as a three-way race between Trump, DeSantis and Scott. And Scott could win by maximizing the extent of his support.
“I don’t see anyone else who can appeal to the full range,” he said. “When you look at his support from most moderate to most conservative, you can’t say that about any other candidate.”