Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the first black Republican elected to the Senate, met with President Donald Trump yesterday to discuss racism and white supremacy post-Charlottesville. According to Scott, who spoke to BuzzFeed News the day after the fact, that conversation went about how you’d expect.
“He is who he has been and I didn’t go in there to change who he was, I wanted to inform and educate a different perspective. I think we accomplished that,” Scott told BuzzFeed. “To assume that immediately thereafter he’s going to have an epiphany is just unrealistic.”
The impetus for the meeting was Trump’s troubling comments appearing to defend the white supremacists who marched on the University of Virginia’s campus by saying there were “good people” on their “side.”
A day after their meeting, however, Trump doubled down on his false equivalency between the white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis who marched on Charlottesville and the anti-fascist and anti-racist counter-protesters who came to confront them — one of whom was killed by a Nazi sympathizer in the process.
“I think especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what’s going on there,” the president said while giving interviews about Air Force One on his way back from Florida to visit Hurricane Irma’s victims. “You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that’s what I said.”
“Now, because of what’s happened since then with antifa — you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump might have a point.’ I said, ‘You’ve got some very bad people on the other side also,’ which is true,” Trump continued.
In a statement released after Trump’s comments aboard Air Force One went public, Sen. Scott denounced the president’s equivocating.
“Antifa is bad and should be condemned, yes, but the KKK and white supremacist groups have been killing and tormenting black Americans for centuries,” Scott said in his statement. “There is no realistic comparison. Period.”