Interviews

Sen. Tim Scott on Democrats' opposition to Trump

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 19, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  The read on all of this and the significance of it all isn't lost on Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina.  

Senator, I know, as you witness these events and see these events, it seems, at least to average folks looking at those protesting even being here -- and you're obviously free to protest, but it often seems rather petty.  

But what do you make of those who opted not to come here or be there for the -- I'm talking those congress men and women who will not be there tomorrow?

SEN. TIM SCOTT, R-SOUTH CAROLINA:  It's truly unfortunate.  

But the party that says that they support diversity, I wish they supported diversity of thought and to bring our country together, that those 50 or 60 lawmakers decided that in order the country in a way that would be befitting of unity, they would be there present.

I did not agree with President Obama on a number of topics, but I was at his 2012 inauguration as a member of this body.  So I think it's very important for all of us as leaders to remember that our words and our actions have impact.  And we should be very cognizant of that fact.  

CAVUTO:  Yes, as I think you brought in and we have discussed before, it's not so much about the president, but the presidency, not about so much who occupies the White House, but the White House, our institution that means a great deal.  

SCOTT:  Absolutely.  You have to respect the office.

CAVUTO:  Do you think any of this -- I hear you, sir.

Do you think any of this is going to spill over into how Donald Trump gets things done, if you have so many people who instantly are against him even being in the White House, working with him once he is?  

SCOTT:  Well, certainly we have seen through the hearing process of the Cabinet, central Cabinet members, very strong, defiant members of the Democrat party really showing up just simply to put a spotlight on Donald Trump, not even on the nominee so often, but on Donald Trump.  

If that's any indication from a legislative standpoint, there will be a high hill to climb.  But the good news is, because of Harry Reid, the nuclear option, it now only takes 51 senators to move the Cabinet forward

And from a legislative standpoint, we will use reconciliation to first tackle Obamacare.  And, if necessary, we will use reconciliation again, a unique opportunity, for us to use a legislative vehicle that only requires a simple majority in the Senate.  That is an unusual tool.  But we will use it for tax reform as well.  

CAVUTO:  I'm sure there are many Democrats who rue that day they got that day.  

But that being said, do you see any problem, Senator, with any of Trump's Cabinet picks getting through, or do you think they all manage to get in?  
Rex Tillerson was the name I mentioned today for secretary of state.  That might be a tough push in the end.  What do you think?  

SCOTT:  I think leadership is counting the votes on each of those nominees. Tillerson, specifically, had a pretty active and lively debate and conversation with Senator Rubio, one of my better friends in the Senate.

CAVUTO:  Right.  Right.  

SCOTT:  I thought that was a very interesting exchange.  

I think that perhaps Tillerson and Price are the ones that will have the most fodder.  But, in the end, the president gets to pick his Cabinet.  The Democrats will vote no.  But the vast majority, I think all of the Republicans, if not all 51 out of the 52, will stick nearly all the nominees so far.  

CAVUTO:  I know we don't get sort of enmeshed in the markets, and I don't want to bore you or our viewers, right, but we had another down day in the market, Senator.

This is the longest losing streak since the Donald Trump election that startled the world.  Now, markets are still up appreciably since his election.  Some are reading into this it's just a natural give-back after a great run-up, others that he could have some trouble getting some of those priorities through.  

What do you think?  

SCOTT:  I think, if you look at the indications on November 9, 10, and 11 in the markets, they actually saw a surge because they understood that Donald Trump was likely to invest in infrastructure, which made the markets respond positively, from my understanding.  

A lull in the market is not something that we ought to concern ourselves with too much with right now.  What we ought to think about is the economic impact on growing the economy through tax reform and regulatory relief.  If there's something that is ailing this terrible recovery, it's the fact that our policies have not consistently been in line with growing private sector.  

When that happens, our economy will hum.  I think, with tax reform and regulatory relief, we have the two pillars that will allow our economy to grow.  And, frankly, people working paycheck to paycheck will thank the good lord for tomorrow.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  

Even just to note, we're looking on the left of our screen for those at home.  This is at the Lincoln Memorial.  This is a Make America Great Again Concert that is about to begin.  And we're told that the president-elect, Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania, and their family are en route and will arrive or scene.

To the left of your screen is where they will be sitting and watching, the great festivity to celebrate something that is not a victory of party, but a victory for the people.  

Tomorrow, at this time, as you know, Senator, Donald Trump will be the president.  And there's a great deal of thought about how he ushers in his presidency, whether he is going to be signing a lot of executive orders to undo Barack Obama's executive orders.  What do you think?  What would you like to see?  

SCOTT:  Well, I would love to see a focus on regulatory relief.  In other words, the administration can, at the direction of the president, look at things like the fiduciary rule and other -- the overtime rule, the joint employer mandate.  

These were things that were passed administratively that can be reversed. There will be a number of executive orders, too many to count, that will -- President Trump will take a look at immediately.  

I think we will have a very aggressive 100 days.  I think we will see Obamacare done.  I think tax reform will be on the edge of the 100-day window, perhaps in the second 100-day window.  We will have a serious conversation about creating access to capital.  

Dodd-Frank and the regulatory environment for banks today are so onerous, that small business owners like I used to be cannot find access to capital, credit to start a new business to grow jobs in this country.

So, you will see a very focused -- a strong focus on an America first economy.  And that will be led by our new president and vice president, Mike Pence.  

CAVUTO:  Senator, we're learning that not only did private initiatives raise the most money for an inauguration for Donald Trump that dwarfs the monies raised by those working for Barack Obama in both his first and second inaugurations combined.  

But now we're getting from John Roberts, our chief White House correspondent that the Trump transition came under budget as well.  Their allocation was apparently for about $6 million.  They're returning 20 percent of that, $1.2 million, to the Treasury.  What do you think of that?  

SCOTT:  Well, that is a great way to start.  

Frugality should be the word in government.  It's not our money.  There's no such thing as a federal dollar.  Those are real dollars coming out of real pockets, people working paycheck to paycheck paying a very high tax rate.  Every single time that we do the right thing and let them keep their money, the country is better off, the economy grows and the quality of life as experienced by the average person in South Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, it gets even better.  

CAVUTO:  Senator, are you getting a handle on what would be some of the early initiatives out of the Trump administration?  I don't know whether it will be a busy first 100 days.  

Sometimes, these things are psychological and what you do in the first 100 minutes seem to matter, but that we tend to put great pressure on incoming presidents to immediately act on what they have had.  But this president has acted as president-elect on a number of things to bring business and jobs back to America or keep them in America.  

Having said that, do you think he has set a high bar, because of that, that he almost immediately has to deliver the goods?  

SCOTT:  Well, certainly, there's a high level of expectations about this presidency.  

I think he will deliver consistently throughout four years.  I do want to make sure that my voters, my bosses at home are cautiously optimistic, that we don't try to shoot over the moon, but that we have a realistic expectation.  

In the Senate, it typically takes 60 votes to get something done.  We have 52 senators.  President Trump will be aggressive.  He will take no prisoners, from my perspective.  He's a great counterpuncher.  We have seen that for the last several months.  

So, it's going to be very important for us to have a realistic set of goals and objectives that prioritizes our time and our energy, so that we get things done for the average person in this country.  

The one thing I can tell you, from working on the transition team to working with vice president-elect Mike Pence, there's a complete and total focus on paycheck-to-paycheck Americans.  The goal is to make sure those folks who are struggling understand that the government is listening and they are our bosses.  

CAVUTO:  All right, Senator Scott, very good seeing you again.

SCOTT:  Thank you, Neil.  

CAVUTO:  Tim Scott, the senator from the beautiful state of South Carolina. All right.  

END

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