Sen. Tim Scott speaks in fireside chat, discusses memoir and state of politics

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) struck notes of optimism and unity in a fireside chat on Friday morning, discussing his book “America, A Redemption Story: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity.” 

Scott, a potential 2024 presidential candidate who has beefed up his political operation in recent months, released the memoir in August. At an event hosted by the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government, he joined political science professor Vincent Phillip Munoz onstage at the Carey Auditorium in Hesburgh Library to discuss various parts of the book, as well as the current state of the country, politics, race and the Republican Party.

With various quips and references to Bible verses scattered throughout his answers to Munoz and audience members, Scott focused on the themes of his new book.

Scott, one of 11 Black members of Congress to have ever served, and the first African American to serve in both the House and Senate, visited Notre Dame for the first time this weekend. 

“I was looking for Rudy,” Scott joked, “but I didn’t see him.”

Scott touched on the story of a Chick-Fil-A operator whose mentorship changed his life, as well as the impact his grandparents and single mother had in raising him. He recalled helping his grandfather, whom he disagreed with politically, to vote for Barack Obama.

Scott said the ability of the country to move from the prejudice his grandfather had experienced to electing an African American president represented the ability of the United States to advance. 

He described his personal experience confronting race and racism, including “being pulled over for DWB — driving while Black — more than twenty times.” In 2016, he delivered a viral speech to the Senate about those experiences, which included being asked to provide identification and being physically barred from entering the Capitol as a sitting congressman despite wearing the House or Senate pin on his lapel.

Scott said that blame over issues of race and policing lie on both sides of the political spectrum.

“If you think the country is irreparably broken and racist to the core, you look for it, darn near celebrate it. The other side seems to suggest that if you see any racism at all, you’re just thinking about 1865, and you’re stuck in the past. I think if you’re going to have an honest conversation about race in America, I think you have to share both sides of the ledger. You honestly have to understand that life is harder for some people based on the color of their skin than it is for other people,” Scott said. “That doesn’t mean we haven’t made incredible progress at the same time.”

Scott’s proposed legislation around police reform in the summer of 2020 was blocked by Senate Democrats.

The topic of Donald Trump came up, and Scott recounted saying the former president had “lost his moral authority” in the wake of the 2017 Charlottesville Unite The Right rally.

He said the condemnation led to a conversation with Trump, one that ultimately allowed for Scott to shepherd his “Opportunity Zones” proposal into law. The initiative directed the governors of each state to designate economically-distressed communities that were ripe for investment and tie them to a federal tax incentive to drive private investment. It has brought “almost 80 billion dollars into the poorest communities in this country,” Scott said.

“I thank God almighty that … President Trump was deferential enough to listen and then act as opposed to trying to defend his comments. We didn’t come to the conclusion where we were on the same side of racial history — I don’t want to pretend like we did. We didn’t need to, though,” Scott said. 

Scott says the conversation led to a positive working relationship.

“From that moment forward, there was a new level of respect, and we worked on funding for historically Black colleges and universities that we took to the highest level ever. We worked on sickle cell anemia funding. We brought the unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanics and Asians to the lowest level in the history of this country. We did that together,” he said of his relationship with Trump. “We did all that together as a result of the conflict in Charlottesville, so thank God for a president who listened in that moment.”

Scott also looked forward during the event.

He unsuccessfully predicted a Clemson win over Notre Dame, 31-23. He also spoke to Republican chances in the midterm elections, warning that the “road to socialism” runs through division in the GOP.

“On Tuesday, I think we’ll be happy that we coalesced around our candidates no matter what side of the Republican Party you may or may not be in. I think we’re far more unified about winning and restoring sanity to the country than we’ve ever been,” he said.

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Senator Tim Scott to speak at Notre Dame

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) will visit Notre Dame on Nov. 4, the University announced. Scott will engage in a fireside conversation taking place at 11 a.m. in the Carey Auditorium in Hesburgh Library. The event will be moderated by Vincent Phillip Muñoz, a political science professor and director of the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government.

“As one of our nation’s most dynamic leaders, Sen. Scott offers a message of hope and redemption. We are pleased to host him on campus and learn more about his vision for America’s future,” Muñoz said in the statement.

Scott has served in the Senate since 2013, leading on legislation such as ‘opportunity zones’, to promote investments in America’s most underserved communities.

Scott, seen by many as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, is releasing a new memoir, titled “America, A Redemption Story: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity.” He will be selling and signing copies of his book during his visit.


Rep. Liz Cheney hints at potential criminal referral for Trump in lecture at Notre Dame

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said Friday at her lecture at Notre Dame she thinks “there’s no question about the answer” regarding whether or not former President Donald Trump broke the law during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in 2021. Cheney, the vice chairwoman of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, referenced U.S. District Judge David O. Carter’s March opinion that stated it is likely that Trump and his lawyer John Eastman broke at least two federal statutes. 

Cheney, who lost her Wyoming GOP primary to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman, said she expects the committee to approach a potential criminal referral for Trump “in a unanimous way.”

During the committee’s ninth and potentially final public hearing Thursday, the members voted unanimously to subpoena testimony from Trump. Cheney said Thursday’s hearing was “not necessarily the last hearing” and the committee felt it was acting responsibly by collecting evidence from figures around Trump before subpoenaing him. 

Following more than a year of investigation by the committee, Cheney said Trump had a premeditated plan to declare victory regardless of the outcome of the election and in spite of evidence demonstrating an absence of voter fraud. 

“On election day and in the days after the election, there was no American who was better informed about the absence of fraud than Donald Trump,” she said. “In spite of this, he made a conscious decision to claim fraudulently that the election was stolen.”

She said Trump proceeded to pressure state officials to change election results and pressure both state and Republican Party officials to manufacture fake electoral slates that tried to correct the Department of Justice.

On the day of Jan. 6, Trump was the lone person with the ability to send the rioters home, Cheney said. Instead of calling for an end to the attack as staff members, family members and members of Congress were urging him to do, he sent a tweet at 2:24 p.m. criticizing former Vice President Mike Pence for not cooperating in his bid to overturn the election, which incited further violence, she argued, and sat quietly while watching the events unfold on television.

“I want you to think about what kind of human being does that,” she said. “That is not normal or acceptable or lawful in our republic.”

Cheney said a police officer told her that night he had never seen anything like the combat he witnessed Jan. 6. The officer was an Iraq War veteran.

Despite the prevalence of Republican candidates today who cast doubt on the election, Cheney said the courage of Republicans who resisted and continue to resist Trump’s efforts inspires her.

“But what gives me hope has been the individuals that both have testified in front of the committee and those who haven’t, but those who acted that day to save the republic. That is one of the most important stories of what happened on January 6,” she said. “The power and the courage and the dazzling honor of individual Americans to save this republic. And they’re mostly Republicans.”

Calling Donald Trump “an ongoing and real threat,” Cheney said the hearings are not partisan. Nearly every witness who has testified has been a Republican.

“This isn’t about politics,” she said.

Cheney said there are too many Republicans in elected office who ignore the threat posed by Trump. She called the ability to commit oneself to the Constitution regardless of an election outcome the “fundamental fabric” of American democracy that is currently at risk.

“Most people in most places in most periods of time on this earth have not been free. America is an exception. And we continue only because we bind ourselves to our founding principles and to our Constitution,” Cheney said.

Cheney called on Americans to refuse to act as bystanders.

“There is no power on this earth that is stronger than free citizens determined to stand together to defend the miracle and the blessing of our freedom,” she said.

As Cheney’s term concludes, she faces questions about her political career after Congress. She said a decision about whether she will run for president will come in the near future.

“I think 2024 is going to be really important. I think it’s going to be crucial that we elect people that will defend the Constitution,” she said. “I haven’t made a decision yet about what I’m going to do. We have a lot of excellent candidates, we have a lot of bad candidates too, so I’ll make a decision about that in the coming months.”

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Congresswoman Liz Cheney to deliver lecture at Notre Dame

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney will visit Notre Dame on Oct. 14 to deliver a lecture on the future of democracy, according to a University press release.

Her speech, titled “Saving Democracy by Revering the Constitution,” will be held in Washington Hall at 2:30 p.m. and sponsored by the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government.

Cheney, who has served as Wyoming’s sole member of the House of Representatives since 2016, lost Wyoming’s Republican primary in August to Harriet Hageman, whose campaign was endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

Currently, Cheney serves as the vice chair of the January 6 Committee and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. Previously, she served as the third-ranking Republican in the House when she was Chair of the House Republican Conference, according to her Congressional profile.

The event is free but ticketed for any students, faculty, staff or alumni of the tri-campus. Students can pick up tickets ahead of the event at the LaFortune box office, and leftover tickets will be distributed at the Washington Hall box office at 1:30 p.m. Alumni can request tickets through a form online.

The event will also be livestreamed on the center’s YouTube channel.