Critics mock Tim Scott’s new series with Black Republicans aimed at recruiting Black voters for Trump

“It’s insulting having it come from a panel of Black elected leaders who have spent their entire political careers aligning with the far-right," said Markus Batchelor of People For the American Way.

Senator Tim Scott, R-S.C., joins U.S. Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, Burgess Owens, R-Utah, and John James, R-Mich., in the debut video series, “America’s Starting Five." (Photo: YouTube/Tim Scott) 

Critics are blasting Senator Tim Scott, R- S.C., and four other Black Republicans in Congress after unveiling a new video series aimed at persuading Black voters to support embattled former President Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election.

Scott, a former Republican presidential candidate and potential vice presidential running mate to Trump, joined U.S. Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, Burgess Owens, R-Utah, and John James, R-Mich., in the debut series, “America’s Starting Five,” on Friday. In the first installment, the five Black Republicans criticized President Joe Biden for his past controversial remarks.

Democratic strategist Ameshia Cross believes the five Black male Republican lawmakers coming together for the series is a “very concerted effort to make it appear that Black males are moving more toward conservatism and towards Trumpism, even though that’s not the case.”

Cross told theGrio, “It wasn’t the case in 2020, it wasn’t the case in 2016, and it will not be the case in 2024.”

Markus Batchelor, national political director at People For the American Way, said that while Black voters are not a monolith, “It’s insulting having it come from a panel of Black elected leaders who have spent their entire political careers aligning with the far-right.”

Batchelor told theGrio that the Republican members of Congress have spent their time in office undermining critical issues like “voting rights, fair courts, racial equity, reproductive freedom, public schools, and fair housing.”

During the series, the “Starting Five” aired a snippet of the viral exchange between “The Breakfast Club” host Charlamagne tha God and then-presidential candidate Biden. During the 2020 interview, Biden said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”

“Non-Black, Black people … we ain’t Black enough for Joe Biden,” Senator Scott said in response. 

U.S. President Joe Biden,
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the reported death of Alexei Navalny from the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Feb. 16, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The South Carolina politician said he found it “frustrating” that Democrats and Biden “get away with saying the darndest things and are never held accountable by anyone.”

Cross admitted that Biden’s nearly four-year-old remark was “very unfortunate” but argued the president’s agenda since entering the White House has demonstrated that he is an advocate for “civil rights and equality” and has worked “side by side with our legacy civil rights leaders.”

“Those comments did not dissuade Black voters at the polls,” and it “won’t in 2024,” she contended.  

Batchelor highlighted that President Biden has a track record of advocating for Black communities. He added that Biden helped to elect Kamala Harris as the first Black vice president and nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the first Black U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“He has a real record of investment in economic relief for working families, closing the wealth gap and providing every American with a community where they can breathe fresh air,” said Batchelor.

During the “America’s Starting Five” series, Scott, Donalds, Owens, Hunt, and James also revisited a clip of President Biden giving a speech at the Asian and Latino Coalition PAC in 2019, where he said, “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it.”

The president added, “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids, wealthy kids, Black kids, Asian kids … they can do anything anybody else can do given a shot.”

Rep. James said Biden’s statements were not just “gaffes” but “arrogant” and “condescending.” He said they not only harmed Black people but poor kids as well.

“He’s talking about elites against working-class and poor people,” the congressman said. “This can explain why a lot of [Democratic] policies are beginning to move things away from where they’re most needed.”

Cross said President Biden’s gaffes are widely known and have been a “cornerstone of his entire public life and career.”

But she added, “The proof is in the pudding when it comes to Joe Biden’s [true intentions].”

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 23: Former U.S. President Donald Trump dances during the Black Conservative Federation Gala on February 23, 2024 in Columbia, South Carolina. Former President Trump is campaigning in South Carolina ahead of the state’s Republican presidential primary on February 24. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Batchelor said Black voters know who President Biden is. He continued, “And from the Central Park Five to Charlottesville, on the campaign trail and in the Oval Office, we know Donald Trump.” He concluded, “The choice is clear in November.”

Later in the pilot episode of “America’s Starting Five,” the Black Republicans discussed representing majority-white districts. That, they argued, proves they are not affirmative action hires.

Rep. Hunt, who represents Texas’ 38th Congressional District, told the group, “We have come a long way as a country … we’re being judged by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin.”

Cross took issue with that phrasing, saying, “Republicans love to choose that one line from Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech … to dismantle any fight toward equity.”

Despite the Republican lawmakers’ efforts to help Trump win the 2024 presidential election, she said it is unlikely they will succeed in reaching their target audience.

Cross argued the video series will likely be peddled by “conservative whites” who like to “say racist things about Black people,” and those who were already projected to vote for Trump in November.’

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