Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) will deliver the Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress next Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced Thursday.
In the statement from GOP top congressional leaders, both McConnell and McCarthy announced that they have tapped Scott to take on the prized task. The minority party traditionally delivers a rebuttal response following the president’s address to a joint session of Congress, selecting a lawmaker that is seen as the rising political star in assigning them the prime-time spotlight to make their case about what the president is getting wrong.
McConnell praised Scott as “one of the strongest leaders in the Senate,” as well as “one of the most inspiring and unifying leaders in our nation.”
“Senator Tim Scott is not just one of the strongest leaders in our Senate Republican conference. He is one of the most inspiring and unifying leaders in our nation. As Sen. Scott likes to say, he is living his mother’s American dream, and he has dedicated his career to creating more opportunity for our fellow citizens who need it most,” McConnell said in a statement. “Nobody is better at communicating why far-left policies fail working Americans.”
McCarthy highlighted how Scott exemplifies the GOP’s “growing coalition of working Americans who value freedom in the pursuit of the American dream.”
“He is a conservative optimist with the right vision for a stronger, more united country,” McCarthy said in the same statement. “Today’s Republican Party is a growing coalition of working Americans who value freedom in the pursuit of the American dream. No member in Congress epitomizes the essence of today’s Republican Party more than my friend and colleague Sen. Scott.”
As part of the statement that announced the South Carolina Senator was selected to deliver the Republican rebuttal, Scott said he was “excited and honored” to discussing the party’s “optimistic vision” for the future next Wednesday.
“I’m excited and honored for this opportunity to address the nation,” Scott said. “We face serious challenges on multiple fronts, but I am as confident as I have ever been in the promise and potential of America. I look forward to having an honest conversation with the American people and sharing Republicans’ optimistic vision for expanding opportunity and empowering working families.”
Scott, the lone black GOP senator has served in the Senate since 2013 and is well-respected in Republican circles while also known as a lawmaker willing to reach across party lines to craft bipartisan legislation at a time Democrats are willing to bypass the GOP in order to pass their slew of radical legislations.
The South Carolina Senator is currently negotiations with Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA.), who sponsored the House bill dubbed who sponsored the House bill, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on a potential bipartisan police reform deal in the wake of the Derek Chauvin trial. Despite the Democratic group unable to reach a compromise, Scott has expressed optimism in breaking the impasse, telling reporters Wednesday they are on “the verge of wrapping this up in the next week or two depending on how quickly they respond to our suggestions.”
The president debut speech to congress will be delivered just two days before he marks his first 100th days in the White House, to an entirely empty House chamber, as Democrats set a limit on the number of lawmakers who could attend due to COVID restrictions imposed by the Capitol. Biden was formally invited to speak to Congress by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who extended an invitation earlier this month for the president to finally make his first joint address on April 28 so he could “share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.”
Biden’s remarks next week are highly anticipated due to the president’s newly unconventional method in dealing with the media. His first press conference was conducted on the 64th day in the office where he only took 10 questions, with none being from Fox News or conservative outlets.
Former President Donald Trump’s final State of the Union address was delivered just a day before the Senate acquitted him in his first impeachment trial and a month before the pandemic quickly took hold in the U.S. His first joint session of Congress is not considered a “State of the Union” address the first year of the presidency was given in late February 2017.