Sen. Tim Scott: ‘True Violation of Rule 19’ Were Remarks Originally Made by Ted Kennedy

By Susan Jones | February 9, 2017 | 5:36am EST
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) (AP File Photo)

( - “Love trumps hate,” as some liberals like to say.

But that sentiment was nowhere in evidence on Tuesday night, when a white liberal from the Northeast dragged the name of Sen. Jeff Sessions though the mud, violating Senate rules in the process.

One day later, a black conservative from the South stood on the Senate floor to reflect on “what occurred last night.”

“First, there is no doubt in my mind that the letter written by Coretta Scott King could and perhaps should be read by each and every member of this chamber,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said. “Regardless of if you disagree with her conclusions, her standing in the history of our nation means her voice should be heard.

"What I took issue with last night -- and the true violation of Rule 19, in my eyes -- were the remarks shared last night, originally stated by Sen. Kennedy – not Coretta Scott King."

(In her attempt to portray Sen. Sessions as a hateful racist, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) quoted Sen. Ted Kennedy as saying 30 years ago: “’Mr. Sessions is a throwback to a shameful era, which I know both black and white Americans thought was in our past. It is inconceivable to me that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a U.S. attorney, let alone a U.S. federal judge.  He is, I believe, a disgrace to the Justice Department, and he should withdraw his nomination and resign his position.’ Those were the words of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and I will stand with Sen. Kennedy,” Warren added.)

“Whether you like it or not, this body has rules,” Sen. Scott said on Wednesday, “and we all should govern ourselves according to the rules.

“Last night, there’s no doubt that emotions were very high. And I’m not necessarily happy with where that has left us today. The Senate needs to function. We need to have a comity in this body if we are to work for the American people.

“This should not be about Republicans and Democrats. It’s not about us. It’s about the American people. And if we remember that point as we move forward, our nation will be able to heal where we hurt. We’ll be able to disagree without being disagreeable. This should be the norm. Not a unique experience in public discourse.”

Sen. Scott spent the rest of his speech explaining the discrimination he faces, not necessarily for being black, but for being conservative. He even read aloud some of the hateful messages that have come into his office because of his support for Sen. Sessions.

Scott explained why he supports Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general – based not on newspaper accounts, but “by calling folks in Alabama.”

“I wanted to know firsthand how he was before he was nominated and how he would respond in a room full of African American leaders,” Scott said.

“So I brought Jeff Sessions down, to see from a distance how he interacts with these African American pastors and hear the tough questions…and other issues so I could have an appreciation and affinity for how the Justice Department under his leadership would act.

“I take this responsibility seriously, and I wonder if my friends in the chamber have had a chance to see what others think. Not the political echo chamber, not the organizations, but run-of-the-mill people.”

Scott also spent some recounting Sessions’ support for civil rights legislation and black political figures, finally announcing that he would vote to confirm Sessions – and “hold him accountable” if and when they disagree.

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