- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina says his only focus of the 2024 election cycle will be making sure that former President Donald Trump gets four more years in the White House, amid increasing signs the lawmaker is on the shortlist to be the Republican front-runner’s pick for vice president.

The former GOP presidential contender and outspoken Christian said he is relying on God to plot his next steps, pointing to the Book of James’ admonishment to “humble yourself” before the Lord.

“The No. 1 thing I can do to make America the city on the hill is to focus on making sure that Donald Trump gets four years — four more years. We were better off with Donald Trump. So everything I’m going to do is focus on that outcome,” he said in a video interview with Washington Times and Higher Ground columnist Billy Hallowell.

As for himself, Mr. Scott said: “My focus is ‘never the position, always the mission,’ and I pray that God’s will be done.”

Mr. Scott launched a presidential bid in May and appeared on the GOP debate stage multiple times before dropping out abruptly in November ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

He said he tried to get voters to have faith in America at a time when many of them wanted “a bull in a China shop” instead.

He believes God wanted him to get Americans thinking in a positive direction, even if they weren’t ready for it in the 2024 cycle.

“My hope and my prayer is that I ran a race that actually encouraged, inspired and motivated more Americans to lean into their faith, lean into their country, and believe in each other,” he said.

Mr. Scott is vocally endorsing Mr. Trump in the GOP primary over his fellow South Carolinian, former Gov. Nikki Haley, leading some pundits to believe he is positioning himself as a top VP choice.

Mr. Trump confirmed that Mr. Scott is on his shortlist of potential running mates.

“He’s been such a great advocate. I have to say this in a very positive way, Tim Scott, he has been much better for me than he was for himself,” Mr. Trump said at a Fox News town hall event with host Laura Ingraham on Feb. 20. “I watched his campaign, and he doesn’t like talking about himself. But boy, does he talk about Trump.”

Mr. Scott said he believes in the former president even though their political styles differ.

“His strong, audacious — sometimes abrasive — approach is one that has traction and the American people are saying, ‘You know, the bull in the China shop might be just what we need to get Washington in shape so that the rest of the country prospers and not just D.C,’” he said.

Much like in his successful 2016 run, Mr. Trump and his Republican allies are focusing on unchecked migration at the southern border. They say a record influx of illegal immigrants is caused by President Biden’s decision to stop work on the border wall and undo policies that Mr. Trump put in place during his term from 2017 to 2021.

Mr. Scott said there is little doubt the top issue facing America this year is the “wide open” border, followed by high inflation and interest rates that are making it difficult for younger generations to buy a home or advance economically.

“My biggest concern with the illegal immigrants coming across the border is I am convinced there are sleeper cells and terrorist risks embedded within those numbers,” Mr. Scott said.

Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders say Republicans had the chance to secure the border with a sprawling national security bill that also provided aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Republican senators blocked the bill because it appeared too weak on the border portion and would have been dead on arrival in the House.

Senate leaders stripped out the border portion and managed to pass a $95.3 billion aid bill for Ukraine and Israel instead, though the bill is stalled in the House.

Mr. Scott said he supports aid for Israel but voted “no” on the Senate package because he wanted to prioritize tough border provisions in the debate.

“We need a package that provides a closed southern border,” Mr. Scott said. “We need to focus on the number one national security risk and threat to the American people.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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