Tim Scott: Discussing race with Trump was 'painful' but made me 'hopeful'

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Biden: Republicans who say Democrats want to defund the police are lying The Hill's Morning Report - Surging COVID-19 infections loom over US, Olympics MORE (R-S.C.) acknowledged that his conversations with President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE about race have been "painful" and "uncomfortable," but insisted that the president has kept an open mind on the issue.

"They're hard, they're painful, they're uncomfortable to sit in the Oval Office and have a conversation with the president about things that you strongly disagree about," Scott told CNN's Van Jones. "He didn't change his perspective, I certainly can't change my perspective." 

But Scott also said that he was "hopeful" after the conversations.

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"The way it closed I thought gave me reasons to be hopeful," Scott recalled. "It closed with: 'Tim I don't see what you see. What can I do to make things better?' "

"That was a shocking response. I was surprised after the conversation that his response was: 'Help me see a better light,' " he continued.

Scott added that it was after that interaction that Trump agreed to back his legislation creating "opportunity zones," which seek to use tax incentives to draw investment to areas of the country with high poverty and low economic growth.

Scott's meeting with Trump last year came after Trump faced bipartisan backlash for insisting that both white nationalists and counterprotesters were responsible for the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Va., last August during a rally organized by racist groups.

Scott told CNN in April that he does not believe that Trump is a racist, but said that the president can be "racially insensitive."