Sen. Tim Scott (RS.C.) has criticized fellow GOP 2024 presidential nominee Ron DeSantis for his state’s controversial slavery curriculum, which says students should be taught that enslaved people develop skills for personal gain.
“There is no glimmer of hope in slavery. “The truth is, whatever you could learn, whatever benefits people get out of slavery, would have benefited a free man,” Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, said at a campaign halt on Thursday in Iowa to reporters.
The curriculum drew harsh criticism from civil rights groups and prominent black politicians from both parties, including Vice President Kamala Harris; former Rep. Will Hurd, who is also competing in the 2024 GOP race; and conservative Florida Rep. Byron Donalds.
DeSantis claimed the standards were misconstrued in a irritated exchange with a reporter on Thursday saying it was “not what’s in the curriculum” without elaborating.
The Florida governor also criticized Donalds, a rising star in the Republican Party who supported former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign, accusing him of siding with Harris and other Democrats. “Are you going to side with Kamala Harris and the liberal media, or with the state of Florida?” DeSantis said.
Scott, who often discusses his family’s journey from the cotton fields of Jim Crow-era South Carolina to the US Congress, suggested Thursday that DeSantis clarify his position.
“Slavery was really about separating families, mutilating people and even raping their wives. It was just devastating, so I would hope that everyone in our country, and certainly everyone who is running for president, would appreciate that,” Scott said.
He added: “People have bad days. Sometimes they regret what they say and we should ask them again to clarify their positions.”
Harris also chided Florida’s educational standards during a last-minute trip to DeSantis’ Jacksonville backyard last week.
“They want to replace history with lies,” Harris said. “They are insulting us by trying to gas us and we will not allow that.”