Sen Tim Scott (R - South Carolina), the sole Black Republican in the United States Senate, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, joining a crowded field.
Mr Scott made the announcement in his home of North Charleston, where he referenced his humble upbringings, noting how his grandfather worked in cotton fields in South Carolina.
“My family went from cotton to Congress in his lifetime. And it was possible because my grandfather had stubborn faith.”
A Senator since 2013, Mr Scott joins a crowded field that includes former president Donald Trump, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who appointed him to become a Senate to fill the vacancy left by a retiring Senator.
Florida Gov Ron DeSantis is also expected to join the Republican presidentual primary.
As the Senate’s sole Black Republican, Mr Scott has spoken regularly about how the Republican Party can offer opportunities for marginalised communities. After police in Minneapolis killed George Floyd in 2020, he attempted to negotiate with Sen Cory Booker (D - New Jersey) to pass police reform, but negotiations ultimately fell through.
During his speech, he criticised the Biden administration and Democrats for denigrating police.
“And in Biden’s America, crime is on the rise and law enforcement is in retreat,” he said. “The far left is ending cash bail. They’re demonizing, demoralizing, and de-funding the police. I grew up in neighborhoods alongside people who ended up incarcerated or in a cemetery. We needed more public safety, not less!”
“America is not a nation in decline. But under Joe Biden, we have become a nation in retreat,” Mr Scott added.
At the same time, Mr Scott voted for most of Mr Trump’s cabinet nominees and judicial nominees, including all three Supreme Court justices Mr Trump nominated.
During his announcement speech, Mr Scott refrained from mentioning Mr Trump, preferring instead to aim his attention at President Joe Biden.
Mr Scott will likely make a play for South Carolina’s primary, the first Republican presidential contest in the South, which could siphon off votes from Ms Haley and Mr DeSantis. But his colleague Sen Lindsey Graham (R - South Carolina) and the state’s Gov Henry McMaster (R - South Carolina) have both endorsed Mr Trump.