By Justin Sink - 12/19/12 04:11 PM EST
Haley announced Scott's appointment to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Monday, and repeatedly emphasized that he had "earned" the job during the press conference to announce her selection. That's led some to suggest the South Carolina governor was concerned her selection would be seen as tokenism.
"The governor went through a very strong matrix to come to her conclusion, and perhaps she was just trying to emphasize the necessity of going through that detailed process to come to that conclusion," Scott said.
He also said the comments were intended to emphasize the opportunities available in the United States. Scott grew up with a single mother, and has spoken at length about her long work hours and his family's struggles with poverty.
"I think we want to make clear that this is an amazing nation full of opportunities," Scott said. "If you work hard and have faith, great things are possible."
Scott, the first black Republican senator since Reconstruction, was also asked whether the Republican Party needed to do more to appeal to minority voters. The senator-to-be said he believed "America is still a center-right country," so Republicans simply needed to better explain their political platform.
"What we have to continue to do is work through the process of marketing the ideas that we represent," Scott said.