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

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottWhat to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Democrats' impeachment case lands with a thud with GOP — but real audience is voters Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (R-S.C.) acknowledged that his conversations with President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial 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."