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

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottGOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug bill Senate passes bipartisan bill to permanently fund historically black colleges MORE (R-S.C.) acknowledged that his conversations with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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."