Tim Scott on NAACP ignoring historic Senate victory

Lawmaker becomes first black senator elected in south since Reconstruction


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 2, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, this one making some history today, Tim Scott becoming the South's first elected black senator since Reconstruction.

But while South Carolina is probably celebrating, the NAACP is not. In fact, the organization that prides itself on celebrating the accomplishments of African-Americans hasn't said a peep.

Senator Tim Scott says that could be the problem, although he's not really offended one way or another.

Senator, first off, congratulations. What an honor.

SEN. TIM SCOTT, R-S.C.: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: And I knew you when. I knew you when.


CAVUTO: What do you think of that? I mean, I hate to have you feel slighted on a big day.


CAVUTO: But it's the NAACP ignoring what has to be one of the greatest moments for African-Americans this year.

SCOTT: Well, I will tell you. It's no slight, to be honest with you.

Ultimately, I'm thankful for those who actually know who I am, who celebrate the success of me and my family, particularly my grandfather and my mother, who paid a high price to make sure that I had an opportunity to succeed.

This is a good day. Frankly, the fact that the NAACP does not weigh in, in a positive position has been my experience for the last four years of elected office. Nothing has changed. That's OK with me.

CAVUTO: They were doing their darndest to make sure you wouldn't get elected into that office. But that was then. This is now. You're obviously a gentleman, no grudge now.

SCOTT: Not at all.

CAVUTO: But I would be curious what you thought of the prior guest's remark, if you had a chance, Senator, Minister Jonathan Gentry, who says that African-Americans, acting out as they are, are losing their message and -- and hurting themselves. What do you make of that?

SCOTT: Yes, I certainly heard a part of the message. I didn't hear the whole message.

I know that people were throwing Scriptures back and forth. One Scripture, I think would be -- benefit all of us is the notion of Proverbs 28:19, that without a vision, people cast off their strength. Perhaps one of the things that we could focus on as a nation and as a community is having a vision, a positive, constructive vision about the future.

I am so thankful that we have law enforcement officers who are willing to put their life -- life on the line to serve people that they never met before. And at the same time, I understand the pain and misery that comes with living in poverty.

So when you put those two together, I would love to see a positive outcome. One of the ways that we have a positive outcome are to bring stakeholders to the same table and have a serious conversation about moving forward.

I reached out to friends of mine in the CBC, the Congressional Black Caucus. I reached out to the Urban League, some of the folks in South Carolina. I also reached out to Hispanic leaders, as well as white leaders, so that we could bring people together.

The one thing that has made America the most amazing country on Earth is the ability to overcome obstacles. We are good at that when we focus on the future and not simply getting mired in the past.

CAVUTO: Yet there are organizations for women in the Senate. There are organizations for great female legislators of any political persuasion. But when it comes time to represent -- to showing and representing powerful African-American senators, congressmen like yourself, you're left out of that -- that group picture. Does that bother you?

SCOTT: Yes, no doubt about that. It doesn't, Neil.

I grew up believing that we were better together. I used to give speeches about the patchwork quilt, those patches being black and white, red and brown, woven together by the threads of democracy. I believe that we're strengthened by our diversity if we're able to remain focused on one future.

I'm going to remain that optimistic, positive person because, ultimately, it has transformed my life. I have been a frustrated youth before when I was flunking out of high school. I have been a kid drifting in the wrong direction. It didn't lead to positive outcomes.

So, the reason why I'm so positive is, I figured it out. It works. Hard work creates your own luck. And so to the extent that I can help create the access to the American dream through focusing on my opportunity agenda, I think we can move the country in the right direction.

But we need more mentors showing up in neighborhoods that are at risk. We could take those at-risk kids and make them into high-potential kids. This takes work. It doesn't take just merely having a good vision. It takes rolling up your sleeves up and going to work.

And, frankly, a part of that conversation is getting the government out of the way and allowing the greatness of America to manifest the change that we so, so desperately seek.

CAVUTO: Is the next stop the White House for you? Are you ever looking at that?



SCOTT: I think the next step is going to vote in about three minutes.

CAVUTO: Oh, I got you. I got you.


SCOTT: Yes, we're excited about that.

CAVUTO: For now.

Senator, thank you again, and congratulations.

SCOTT: Absolutely. Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

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