A white Republican senator pressed his black GOP colleague to meet with a racist federal judge nominee — and it didn't go according to plan.
McClatchy reported that after Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) effectively sunk the confirmation of Trump judicial nominee Thomas Farr, an NC judge who was allegedly involved in racist voter suppression and has ties to white supremacist groups, 31 influential conservatives sent him a letter excoriating him for his "no" vote.
“In these difficult days, when allegations of racism are carelessly, and all too often deliberately, thrown about without foundation, the result is not racial healing, but greater racial polarization,” the leader to the Senate's only black Republican read. “Joining with those who taunt every political opponent a ‘racist’ as a partisan political tactic to destroy their reputations is not helpful to the cause of reconciliation.”
Scott held a meeting with Farr earlier on Wednesday as "a courtesy" to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), one of the judge's backers.
The meeting didn't assuage Scott's misgivings about Farr, however.
"For some reason the authors of this letter choose to ignore ... facts, and instead implicate that I have been co-opted by the left and am incapable of my own decision making," Scott told McClatchy.
"Why [Republicans] have chosen to expend so much energy on this particular nomination I do not know," the South Carolina Republican added, "but what I do know is they have not spent anywhere near as much time on true racial reconciliation efforts, decrying comments by those like [Iowan Republican Congressman] Steve King, or working to move our party together towards a stronger, more unified future."
After King was quoted by the New York Times claiming he doesn't know when "white nationalist and white supremacist became offensive," the black GOP Senator published a Washington Post op-ed taking his party to task for its silence on racism.
"Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism," Scott wrote. "It is because of our silence when things like this are said."
Though the conservatives that wrote the letter urging Scott to meet with Farr suggested he'd never done so, the Senator pointed out that he had "met with him multiple times over the past 18 months, both in person and via phone.”
The report noted that because a new Congress is in session, President Donald Trump could renominate Farr — making it the second time this president would do so and the fourth time total that the judge had been nominated to fill a long-vacant federal judicial seat in Eastern North Carolina.
New Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said he's open to renominating Farr after speaking to his seatmate, Tillis and Sen. Richard Burr (R-SC).