Sen. Tim Scott launches 2024 presidential exploratory committee

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has launched a 2024 exploratory committee, putting him on the path to an official campaign and showdown with former President Donald Trump in the GOP primary.

Mr. Scott, in an online video, said he will “never back down in defense of the conservative values that make America exceptional.”

The presidential exploratory committee allows Mr. Scott to raise funds for expenses such as polling or travel before making the leap into the race. 

He would square off against Mr. Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the Republican who appointed him to his Senate in 2012 before he won a series of elections to remain a senator. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will probably be another formidable foe, though Mr. Scott focused his attacks on liberals and President Biden in his announcement.

SEE ALSO: Tim Scott breezes onto 2024 stage

“I know America is a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression. I know it because I lived it,” Mr. Scott says in the three-minute clip. “That’s why it pains my soul to see the Biden liberals attacking every rung of the ladder that helped me climb. If the radical left gets their way, millions more families will be trapped in failing schools, crime-ridden neighborhoods and crushing inflation. Not on my watch.”

Mr. Scott barely registers in available polling but he would be a major player in the GOP primary. He is well-liked by colleagues and upbeat, offering a contrast to Mr. Trump’s dire warnings about the direction of the country, and he is the only Black Republican in the Senate.

Mr. Scott scolded Democrats for tending to “weaponize” and dubbing him a “prop” or “token.” He says he upset their narrative by lifting himself out of poverty, rising to the halls of Congress and criticizing liberal policies on crime, schools and the economy.

“The spoons in our apartment were plastic, not silver,” he said. “But we had faith. We put in the work and we had an unwavering belief that we, too, could live the American dream.”

The Democratic National Committee welcomed Mr. Scott into the fold by saying he will be dragged into the muck of a nasty GOP primary that will force Republican candidates to cater to Mr. Trump’s base.

“Even before he refused to name a policy difference with Trump, Scott was a fierce advocate of the MAGA agenda – supporting national abortion bans and championing plans to end Medicare and Social Security as we know them,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison said. “As an ‘architect’ of Trump’s tax law, Scott gifted corporations billions and has been a longtime champion of rolling back regulations on big banks.”

“There’s no question that special interests are celebrating as Tim Scott throws his hat into the 2024 race for the MAGA base,” Mr. Harrison said.

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