The South Carolina Gamecocks and Florida Gators may not meet for an SEC showdown until October 14, but Senator Tim Scott and Governor Ron DeSantis went toe toe-to-toe on the debate stage in California this week. Scott openly criticized the governor’s education policies. More specifically, he condemned the education policy that requires students to learn that the slave trade had a “personal benefit” for those who were enslaved because they “developed skills.”
“There is not a redeeming quality in slavery,” Scott said.
Shortly after making those comments, Scott claimed that the nation had “overcome” the impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and argued that President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” campaign had done more harm to the modern Black community.
“America has suffered because of slavery, but we’ve overcome that,” Scott said.
“What was hard to survive was Johnson’s Great Society, where they decided to put money – where they decided to take the Black father out of the household to get a check in the mail. And you can now measure that in unemployment and crime and devastation,” he added later on.
Following the debate, former National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow praised Scott’s comments.
“I got to give Tim Scott a lot of credit because he did this riff on Blacks, African Americans, somehow surviving through slavery and then went on to say that the Great Society of LBJ and all the Democratic presidents since then, have made the Black situation worse, not better,” Kudlow said.
However, other scholars, journalists and political commentators adamantly disagreed with his comments.
“Tim Scott was almost about to make sense on slavery. Then he had to go back to that ‘America is not a racist country’ nonsense,” National Black Justice Coalition Co-Founder Keith Boykin wrote.
“This is absurd. Tim Scott and I wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for LBJ’s Great Society. It’s okay to have policy disagreements. It’s not okay to minimize the injustices of slavery in the name of some anti-historical talking point,” U.S. Senate candidate Thierry Tchenko commented.
“As a boy, my great, great grandfather the Rev. Pompey LaVallie endured slavery. As a boy, I enjoyed a Great Society program, Head Start. I played with crayons, he faced whips. Don’t compare the two,” former NAACP President Cornell Brooks added.
Overall, Tim Scott is hoping his comments at the debate did more good than harm. Heading into the debate, Five Thirty Eight polls indicated that 25.8% of voters had an unfavorable view of the Senator. After the debate, his unfavorable rating had climbed to 26.6%. The next debate is expected to be held in November in Miami, Florida.