During a contentious interview with Republican South Carolina Senator Tim Scott on Thursday, NBC’s 3rd Hour Today show co-host Craig Melvin wondered if the only black GOP member of the U.S. Senate was being “used” by his party as a “token” to lead policing reform efforts in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Scott promptly rejected the insulting suggestion.
After allowing the Senator to briefly outline the Republican proposal for police reform, Melvin launched his nasty attack: “Senator, you have faced a fair amount of criticism, especially over the past few days, because you are the only black Republican senator, some have said that your party is using you, they’ve even thrown around the word ‘token,’ as well. Your response to that criticism?”
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Scott pushed back hard at the dismissive insinuation:
Well, I am also the only person in my conference who has been racially profiled, driving while black. I’m the only one in my conference that’s been stopped seven times in one year as an elected official, perhaps the only one in my conference wearing this senate pin that was stopped from coming into the building. So if there’s someone in the conference who understands discrimination and profiling, it’s me. It’s the reason why I asked to lead this charge, because it is a personal issue, it is the right issue. And frankly, I think it helps to have someone who has been a victim of this situation and who still has a tremendous respect for where our country can go together. So I shrug those comments and criticisms off. But you’ve got to know, when you’re a black Republican, you’re like a unicorn. People are going to criticize you when you wake up, when you go to sleep. If you say you like apple pie and football, there’s a lot of critics for that, too. So God bless their souls.
It’s interesting that during a softball interview with Democratic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker on Wednesday, about him leading his party’s push for police reform, Melvin never asked if Booker’s white liberal colleagues in the Senate were using him as “token.”
After Scott’s response on Thursday, fellow co-host Al Roker jumped in and tried to push the Republican to denounce President Trump:
Well, Senator, let me ask you this, the President just announcing that he’s gonna host a rally next week, Tulsa, Oklahoma, where hundreds of African-Americans were killed during racial unrest in 1921, and on Juneteenth, the day that folks mark the end of slavery in this country. Also rejecting the idea of removing confederate statues – or names, I should say – from military bases. You’re from a state where a lot of the statues are common, a lot of statues coming down. Do you think the President is listening to the conversation, and how do you feel about confederate statues being removed?
Scott replied in part: “I’d like to spend as much energy about monuments – that is an important conversation – I’d love to spend an equal amount of energy talking about school choice and public and charter schools. I’d love to spend more time talking about issues that make a better future, as much as we are looking in the past.”
As the segment wrapped up, Melvin cast doubt on the ability of the Senate to get anything done, remarking: “Alright, we didn’t get a chance to talk about the anti-lynching component, but we’ll bring you back….you guys couldn’t get that passed last week. We can’t even get U.S. Senators to agree on what constitutes lynching.” Scott immediately corrected him:
Well, actually, that’s not accurate. We have already passed this legislation twice in the Senate….There is a debate on the floor, but that is an inconsistent and inaccurate statement. We passed it in the Senate, I hope that the House would just take up our bill and pass it. In the House bill, they actually have the exact legislation that we passed in the Senate. I think we’ll get it done if we can come to the same table….that bill has already been passed. So I think we should focus on getting this done, because it is so important to our country, after 200 failures on anti-lynching, we’re right at the goal line. I hope we get it across the line.
Melvin concluded: “Alright, I didn’t mean to get in the weeds there with you, Senator….For a second there, it was starting to feel like MSNBC, instead of NBC.”
The amount of liberal rhetoric from Melvin and Roker in the exchange certainly sounded like MSNBC. There doesn’t appear to be a line between the left-wing cable channel and the broadcast network anymore.
LifeNews.com Note: Kyle Drennen is an MRC News Analyst and a graduate of Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science. This was originally posted on the Media Research Center blog NewsBusters.