Republican Sen. Tim Scott responds to Biden speech, says president's actions don't create unity

"Our nation is starving for more than empty platitudes," Scott said in response to Biden's calls for unity.

Updated: April 29, 2021 - 9:08am

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott on Wednesday night delivered the GOP response to President  Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress, saying the president "seems like a good man" who has pledged unity but his policies so far are pulling Americans further apart.

"Our nation is starving for more than empty platitudes; we need policies and progress that brings us closer together," Scott said minutes after Biden concluded his rough 60-minute speech on the House floor. "But three months in, the actions of the president and his party are pulling us further and further apart." 

Scott's speech also focused on Biden's infrastructure deal, which the president appears ready to have Congress pass without Republican support or input.

"Republicans support everything you think of when you think of infrastructure – roads, bridges, ports, airports, high-speed broadband. We're in for all of that," Scott said. "But again, Democrats want a partisan wish list. They won't even build bridges to build bridges."

Scott also recognized former President Trump, saying the Biden administration inherited the former president's efforts to end the pandemic, which includes the Trump White House's Operation Warp Speed that fast-tracked a vaccine.

Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, was selected by congressional Republican leadership to give the response.

Both speeches came on the eve of Biden's first 100 days in office. 

Other top congressional Republicans were also critical of the Biden speech.

"This whole thing could have just been an email," tweeted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican.

"Tim Scott is one of the smartest people I've even met," GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina's senior senator, told Fox News. "He made his state proud. He made conservatism proud. ... Joe Biden scared the hell out of me tonight. Tim Scott made me feel great to be a Republican."

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