Sen. Tim Scott: Trump risks losing moral authority

Sen. Tim Scott: Trump risks losing moral authority
© Keren Carrion

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottWhy President Trump’s 'both sides' argument has merit GOP senator: 'There is no realistic comparison' between antifa and white supremacists Trump on white supremacists: ‘Pretty bad dudes on the other side also' MORE, the only African-American GOP senator, said Sunday it will be difficult for President Trump to lead the country if his "moral authority" is compromised.

"As we look to the future, it's going to be very difficult for this president to lead if, in fact, that moral authority remains compromised," Scott said in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Scott said Trump's response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., attended by neo-Nazis and members of the KKK had shaken confidence.

Trump said both sides were to blame for the violence in which white supremacists clashed with counter-protesters, adding that there were good people on both sides.

The remarks have led to a wave of condemnation from political leaders in both parties, and an exodus of businessmen from economic advisory boards. 

"The reality of it is this nation responds to moral authority when we believe that our president has the entire nation's best interests at heart," Scott continued. 

"His comments on Tuesday that erased his positive comments on Monday started to compromise that moral authority that we need the president to have for this nation to be the beacon of light to all mankind."

Trump on Monday had condemned white supremacist groups by name, but shifted on Tuesday to blaming both sides.

"You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now," Trump said during the Tuesday press conference.

Scott urged Trump to sit down with civil rights leaders such as Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) who have a "personal connection" to America's "painful" racial history to "regain" his moral authority as president.

"At this point it's not what the president says next, it's what he does. We are at a very critical and sensitive time in this nation," Scott said. "We need our president to sit down with folks who have a personal experience, a deep connection to the horror and pain of this country's provocative racial history."

"If the president wants to have a better understanding or appreciation for what he should do next, he needs to hear from folks who have gone through this painful history," he added. "Without that personal connection to the painful past, it will be hard for him to regain that moral authority from my perspective."

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The South Carolina senator told CBS's John Dickerson that such a meeting would help Trump understand the words that he says, rather than just reading them off a teleprompter.

"What the president should do before he says something, is to sit down, and become better acquainted, have a personal connection to the painful history of racism and bigotry of this country," Scott said Sunday. "It would be fantastic if he sat down with a group of folks who endured the pain of the '60s ... the humiliation of the '50s and the '60s."

"This would be an opportunity for him to become better educated and acquainted with the looping history of so many folks from John Lewis to my mother and so many others, who have gone through the painful part of history of this country," Scott added.