Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) explained his decision to support Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general on Wednesday, roughly 30 years after his nomination to join the federal bench was sunk by allegations of racism. 
 
“This is issue is not … simply about our next attorney general,” Scott said from the Senate floor. “This is really an issue about all of us. This is an issue that digs deep into our souls, deep to the core of our nation.”
 
Scott recounted how he invited Sessions to a meeting in South Carolina with African-American community leaders, saying he wanted “to know firsthand who he is” before he was nominated.
 
{mosads}Scott is the only black Senate Republican and the first African-American to be elected to the Senate from the South since Reconstruction. 
 
He spoke frankly from the Senate floor on Wednesday about the criticism he’s received as an African-American conservative supporting Sessions. 
 
“I’ve been called everything that you can think of from a racial perspective. Good, not too often. Bad, very constantly,” he said. 
 
Scott read a handful of Twitter messages that has has received criticizing his support, noting he “left out all the ones that used the ‘n-word.’ Just felt like that would not be appropriate.”
 
In one Twitter exchange, Scott noted that one Twitter user referred to him as “Uncle Tom” — a reference to the title character in the novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that is a derogatory term for a black person perceived to be subservient.
 
Scott, reading from pages of the messages he had received, added that another Twitter user called him “‘a disgrace to the black race … How does a black man turn on his own?'”
 
Scott signaled that the attacks weren’t out of the ordinary, adding that “If you sign up to be a black conservative, the chances are very high you will be attacked. It comes with the territory.” 
 
Though Sessions is widely liked by his colleagues, he’s faced a tough confirmation fight. 
 
Tensions around the nomination appeared to boil over on Tuesday night when Republicans temporarily blocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) from speaking after a blistering speech against Sessions.
 
Scott said he supported the move because of remarks Warren quoted from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, but urged that each of his senators read Coretta Scott King’s letter, which Warren attempted to read from the floor.
 
“There is no doubt in my mind that the letter written by Coretta Scott King could and perhaps should be read by each and every member of this chamber, regardless of if you disagree with her conclusions,” he said. “Her standing in the history of our nation means her voice should be heard.” 

Coretta Scott King wrote in 1986, during Sessions’s failed confirmation hearing for a federal judgeship, that he “had used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens” as a U.S. attorney in Alabama.

Sen. Scott added that he was “surprised by just a smidgen” that progressives want “all of us to be tolerant but do not want to be tolerant of anyone that disagrees with where they are coming from.” 
Tags Elizabeth Warren Jeff Sessions Tim Scott

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