WASHINGTON (AP) – Sen. Tim Scott credited former President Donald Trump and Republicans on Wednesday with creating “a happy spring for our nation,” using his party’s official response to President Joe Biden’s first speech at the Congress to say it was the GOP that bolstered the economy and started taming the pandemic.
Excerpts from Biden’s speech released by the White House showed the new president to have an optimistic tone, declaring that the United States “turns peril into possibility, crisis into opportunity.” Snippets of Scott’s remarks showed he was attempting to attribute the turnaround to the GOP.
âThis should be a happy spring for our nation,â said Scott, RS.C., citing the role of the Trump administration in helping to spur vaccine development and kickstart a phased economic recovery. âThis administration inherited a tide that had already turned. The coronavirus is on the run! “
Biden’s speech comes three months after the start of a presidency that saw Republicans oppose his initial major initiatives – aimed at fighting the deadly virus and boosting the economy – as costly and unnecessary expansions of the government. government. They repeatedly accused him of abandoning his election promise to seek bipartite compromises.
The address also comes as Scott, the only black senator in the GOP, found a spotlight leading his party in a bipartisan effort to overhaul police procedures. The campaign was prompted by the murder last May of George Floyd, a black man, and energized again by the conviction this month of a former white Minneapolis police officer for the murder.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Scott cited the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, the government’s willingness to help accelerate vaccine development, as well as a series of bipartisan relief bills against the COVID-19 last year that dispersed billions of dollars in aid to businesses, state governments and individuals.
âSo why do we feel so divided and anxious?â Scott said. “A nation with so much to hope for shouldn’t feel so burdened.”
Scott also criticized decisions by many school systems to stop or limit in-person classes during the pandemic as a safety measure. These closures, which have been recommended by many public health officials, have drawn fire from Republicans as an overreaction and are part of the GOP’s cultural war with Democrats.
âLocking vulnerable children out of the classroom prevents adults from stepping out of their future,â Scott said. He said private and religious schools had reopened and called the closures âthe clearest case of school choice in our lives.
Scott cited the low unemployment rates for minorities before the pandemic hit last year, calling it “the most inclusive economy of my life.” He also praised the GOP’s efforts, including tax breaks to encourage business investment in low-income communities.
“Our better future will not come from Washington’s plans or socialist dreams,” he said, echoing the GOP’s oft-repeated theme that Democrats are pushing far-left plans. “It will come from you – the American people.”
Scott, who generally maintains a low profile, has long embraced the themes of expediency and cheerful optimism that were conservative calling cards during the Reagan era.
These messages could make Scott a positive messenger for the GOP in the 2022 election campaigns, when the party has high hopes of gaining control of the House and possibly the Senate.
First elected to the House in 2010 and a senator since 2013, he himself is heavily favored for re-election next year.
Scott, 55, has spoken publicly about frequently being stopped while driving by police officers and the anger and humiliation he felt.
He has occasionally called out Trump in measured tones on some of his racist offensive sides. Yet he remained a staunch supporter of the former president and retained strong support across the GOP.
Biden had early and brief discussions with GOP lawmakers over his $ 1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, but he dismissed their offer as inadequate and pushed the package through Congress in the face of the unanimous republican opposition.
The same pattern appears to be developing with his $ 2.3 trillion proposal to build infrastructure projects, and possibly his $ 1.8 trillion plan for families and education as well.