Tim Scott defends the American Dream, says his family 'went from Cotton to Congress in one lifetime'

The black South Carolina senator closed out the first night of the RNC by recounting the story of his personal American Dream.

Updated: August 25, 2020 - 12:44pm

South Carolina's Tim Scott, the only black GOP member of the Senate, delivered the final speech of night one of the Republican National Convention, during which he recounted his "American journey" and told viewers that he is living his "mother's American Dream." 

Scott's carefully crafted speech Monday night positioned President Trump against Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden, but emphasized that this election is about more than just two candidates. It's about two ideas of what America is and can be, he said. 

"Our side is working on policy, while Joe Biden's radical Democrats are trying to permanently transform what it means to be an American," Scott said.

"If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia, and history taught us that path only leads to pain and misery," said Scott, "We must focus on the promise of the American journey." 

"We don't give into cancel-culture, or the radical — and factually baseless — belief that things are worse today than in the 1860s or the 1960s," he continued.

Scott  spoke about how an early mentor in his life taught him valuable lessons about how, with hard work, he could improve not just his own standing in the world, but his community's.

"He planted the seeds of what would become Opportunity Zones," he said.

He called the American education system "magic" for the opportunities it presents to all children, and reaffirmed his and the president's support for school choice "to make sure every child, in every neighborhood has a quality education."  

He spoke about how being the owner of a successful small business taught him to value a tax code that encourages growth. And he spoke about winning his first congressional primary against the son of Strom Thurmond, famed South Carolina senator and notorious segregationist.

"Because of the evolution of the heart, in an overwhelmingly white district, the voters judged me on the content of my character, not the color of my skin," Scott said. 

When speaking about Biden, Scott emphasized the Democrat's actions, not just his gaffe-prone words.

"In 1994, Biden led the charge on a crime bill that put millions of Black Americans behind bars," he said. "Joe Biden failed our nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities ... when it comes to what Joe Biden says he'll do, look at his actions. Look at his policies. Look at what he already did and did not do while he's been in Washington for 47 years."

Throughout his speech, Scott stressed the progress that America has made and will continue to make. He said that despite living in "a world that only wants to you believe in the bad news, the truth is, our nation's arc always bends back towards fairness."

The senator closed by reaffirming his belief in the hope that America represents for its citizens, and represented for him personally. 

"Our family went from Cotton to Congress in one lifetime. And that's why I believe the next American century can be better than the last," Scott said.