The U.S. Senate’s only black Republican shared some words of praise for President Donald Trump’s recent address regarding protests that have erupted in response to the death of George Floyd last week.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told Fox News Channel host Martha MacCallum that Trump struck some of the right chords in his Rose Garden address on Monday, at which time he expressed support for peaceful protests but promised to use force against destructive rioters.
Addressing the nation for the first time regarding the civil unrest, Trump vowed that he would put an end to the riots — using the military if necessary.
“Drowned out by an angry mob”
“We cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob,” the president said. “The biggest victims of this rioting are peace-loving citizens in our poorest communities.”
While many of his critics interpreted the remarks as polarizing and short on compassion, Scott said that he believes Trump’s message was “heartfelt” and that such a presidential order might be necessary.
“I would say that the president’s comments in the Rose Garden were important,” the senator said. “They were significant. They were heartfelt. I think they lead us in the right direction.”
Scott has not been in agreement with Trump at every turn, however, calling the president’s earlier tweets on the topic “not constructive.”
He said he spoke to the president, though, and they “talked about the fact that there is a constructive way to have a dialogue with a nation in this similar fashion that we had a conversation after Charlottesville,” adding that “the president will listen if you engage him with facts on those issues.”
“A political prop”
Scott also voiced displeasure over Trump’s decision to clear a group of protesters in Lafayette Square prior to Monday’s curfew so that he could walk to a nearby historic church burned by protesters over the weekend.
Several prominent Republicans joined Democrats — including presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden — in denouncing Trump’s photo opportunity at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
“There is no right to riot… But there is a fundamental—a Constitutional—right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) in a statement on Tuesday.
Despite the backlash, Trump appears determined to take a firm position against those demonstrating in the nation’s capital and across the U.S. in opposition to racial injustice. Controversial as it might be, many of his supporters and advisers believe his stance is the best course of action to protect lives and property.