116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina praised Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday evening, saying the Republican Party should be the “party of parents.”
Scott, touted as a possible Republican presidential contender, spoke with U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, at an interview-style discussion moderated by Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids.
“Education forms leadership of the next generation,” said Scott, the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate. “Your great Gov. Kim Reynolds is fighting tooth and nail to make sure there is quality education in every ZIP code in the state.”
Scott said he is fighting for the same thing, focusing on transforming the country through quality education.
Following a reception, Kaufmann said that being seen with Reynolds is a positive in the Republican Party, “especially with the national exposure” she’s received.
“I don’t think anybody whose popularity and the ease of which you’re going to see her be reelected has triggered longer coattails,” he said.
Kaufmann said Republican candidates visiting Iowa like Scott have not mentioned a run in the 2024 presidential election, but they are asking, “How can we help?”
A presidential candidate should “make it personal” like Scott did Thursday evening, Kaufmann said, and be geographically strategic when visiting Iowans.
So far, Scott has visited Linn and Scott counties in Iowa. Kaufmann said Scott needs to head north and to the Missouri River next.
“Iowans pay attention to that,” Kaufmann said. “We’re very regional in our thinking, and we expect the candidates to go where potentially they can be heard by every single citizen.”
During the reception, Scott threw Ernst’s name into the ring as a possible presidential contender.
“I know that one day when you’re over all the military or the vice president or the president of this country, I so look forward to saying, ‘yes ma’am,’” Scott told Ernst.
The Republican senators spoke about racial equality and the U.S. withdraw of troops from Afghanistan earlier this year.
“I ran for Congress in the place where the Civil War started, and I won because of the evolution of the human heart and the Southern heart continues in the right direction,” said Scott, the first Black person elected to the U.S. Senate from a Southern state since Reconstruction.
“You hear we’ve never lived in a more racially divisive time than right now,“ Scott said. “Did we miss the Civil War? The ’60s or ’70s or race riots? Did we forget that this country evolved to elect an African-American president and now an African-American vice president?”
Ernst said she is tired of hearing from Department of Defense officials that climate change is the most pressing issue facing the United States.
“I don’t want to hear that anymore when we have Russia, who has invaded Ukraine and creating a global food crisis, when we have Afghanistan, which we left in such a dishonorable way, leaving Americans behind, our Afghan allies and our allies and partners from other countries,” Ernst said.
“Now we have the Taliban ruling, and you see the rights of women and girls slip away and violent extremist organizations that once attacked us in 2001 reconstituting in the exact same stamping grounds,” Ernst said.
“We do have to focus domestically and make sure our nation is secure,” Ernst said. “If we don’t have security and safety, nothing else can follow.”
Scott agreed with Ernst, calling the U.S. departure from Afghanistan “botched.”
The senators also discussed an assassination attempt on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
A man was charged Wednesday with attempting to murder Kavanaugh in his Maryland home. Hours later, House Democrats delayed consideration of Senate-approved legislation that would offer additional protection to Supreme Court justices. House Democrats say they want to expand protections to include security for other court employees.
“We can’t be a country that’s so divided we ignore or overlook attempts of violence against a sitting Supreme Court justice,” Scott said.
“If it had been a liberal Supreme Court justice who had been threatened with being killed, that would have been taken care of immediately,” Ernst said.
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