U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, campaigning for president, answered questions from attendees at his town hall in Ankeny on July 27, 2023. (Photo by Robin Opsahl/Iowa Capital Dispatch)
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, campaigning in Iowa, said if elected president, he would take on the “weaponization” of the Department of Justice.
Scott focused on law enforcement Thursday after a federal grand jury added three new felony charges against former President Donald Trump.
At a campaign event in Ankeny, Scott was asked how the charges should factor into Republican primary voters’ and caucusgoers’ decision on the 2024 nomination.
“Well, I’m running for president, so I’m hoping that the caucusgoers are gonna go caucus for me,” Scott said. “So my hope is that I will be the nominee of this party.”
Trump, who is seeking a return to office in 2024, faces charges related to his possession and handling of classified documents. The former president, may also see federal charges in a separate case related to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection.
“At the end of the day, what we all should be very concerned about is the weaponization of Department of Justice,” Scott said. “We should be very careful on how we use this power against political opponents. That is not good for the soul of our country. We need Lady Justice to wear a blindfold.”
Scott, a South Carolina Republican, greeted a crowd of more than 200 people Thursday evening at the District Venue in Ankeny. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds also attended.
When answering questions from the audience, he called for eliminating “every single political appointee in all of the Department of Justice,” as well as making leadership changes at the FBI and other “alphabet soup agencies” to prevent federal law enforcement offices from being used for political purposes.
As president, Scott said, he would work to reduce the scope of federal government, saying he would want to convene a meeting on the 10th amendment, which reserves rights not delegated to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution to the states and the people.
“We actually need something like a 10th Amendment committee, to have governors around this country say, ‘y’all shouldn’t be doing this at all, and you’re not very good at it,’ ” Scott said.
Scott: There’s ‘no silver lining’ for slavery
The senator was also asked to respond to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ defense of Black history curriculum standards in Florida. The standards have drawn criticism for including language for instruction on “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
DeSantis, also seeking the GOP nomination for president, addressed the issue earlier Thursday at a campaign event in Chariton. DeSantis defended the curriculum standards, saying the provision was meant to show that some enslaved people developed skills “in spite of slavery, not because of slavery.”
Scott said “there’s no silver lining” in slavery.
“Any benefits that people suggest you had from slavery, you would have had as a free person,” Scott said. “… So I would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that. People have bad days. Sometimes they regret what they say. And we should ask them again to clarify their positions.”
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