- Friday, March 1, 2024

Let’s face it: There was never any love lost between former President Donald Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence.

Mr. Trump took Mr. Pence as his running mate in 2016 to give him credibility with the Republican establishment, just as Ronald Reagan did with George H.W. Bush in 1980 — a big mistake in both cases.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence were never comfortable with each other.

It’s the opposite with Mr. Trump and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Mr. Trump calls Mr. Scott, once his rival for the Republican nomination, “the greatest surrogate I’ve ever seen.” Lindsey Graham, the other South Carolina senator, describes Mr. Scott as “a genuinely nice man.” Friends of mine in Washington agree.

He’s also the most upbeat spokesman the Republicans have.

Mr. Scott’s life is an affirmation of the American dream. His grandfather picked cotton in the Jim Crow South. “From cotton to Congress,” says Mr. Scott, who was raised by a single mother.

He is the only Black man to serve in both houses of Congress. He’s loyal, a good fundraiser and a solid conservative.

No neophyte, Mr. Scott has run three statewide campaigns in his career.

Consider some of the others on Mr. Trump’s shortlist.

Vivek Ramaswamy is energetic and articulate, but he has never held political office. Rank-and-file conservatives love Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but he and Mr. Trump have spent two years trading barbs.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is a virtual unknown, and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii was a Democrat in 2020 and is now an independent.

Besides his other strengths, Mr. Scott would help to boost Republican prospects with Black voters in a year when the GOP could finally make real inroads with this constituency.

President Biden’s support among Black voters has slipped from 87% in the 2020 election to 63% in a recent poll.

It’s unlikely Mr. Trump will get close to a majority of Black votes this year. He doesn’t have to. He needs to improve on his 12% from the last campaign. With Mr. Scott on his ticket, he would.

Of all the groups beaten, battered and bludgeoned by Mr. Biden and Democratic elitists, minorities top the list. Defunding the police has led to an urban crime wave. The streets of New York and Chicago resemble the Gaza Strip without the tunnels.

While the president boasts about “Bidenomics,” food prices have increased 20% in the past three years — more for staples like milk, eggs, butter and meat. The poor and near-poor pay a higher percentage of their income to put food on the table.

In February, comedian Bill Maher had fitness guru Jillian Michaels on his “Club Random” podcast. When he told her the U.S. had “won the pandemic economically,” Ms. Michaels exploded, “Buy some f—-ing eggs!”

Black children are caught in failed schools, while the Biden administration polishes the apples of the teachers unions by opposing school choice programs.

But it’s illegal immigration — an estimated 9.5 million new entrants, including “gotaways,” since the president replaced the border wall with a welcome mat — where this administration has really endeared itself to Black voters.

At meetings in Democratic-run cities like Chicago and New York, angry residents engage in shout-downs, as they did in Athens, Georgia, after the killing of Laken Riley.

Black parents wonder why their children are being kicked out of their schools and playgrounds to house illegals.

They’re outraged by photos of immigrant gang members cleaning out stores, dragging women through the streets on mopeds to get their cellphones, and giving us the finger as they’re released from jail without having to post bail.

The ancestors of African Americans came here in chains. Migrants get free food, clothing, housing and medical care as a reward for entering the country illegally. If the Black community is bitter, it’s with good cause.

Mr. Scott can address all of this with authenticity. Democrats have Vice President Kamala Harris, who grew up in a comfortable, upper-middle-class family. Her parents were both college professors.

Eventually, they’ll trot out former President Barack Obama, if he can tear himself away from his $12 million, 29-acre estate on Martha’s Vineyard.

After his parents separated, Mr. Scott grew up in his grandparents’ house on a dirt road. He, his older brother and his mother, a nurse who worked double shifts to help support the family, shared a bedroom. Swank Edgartown, it was not.

Mr. Scott complements Mr. Trump in many important ways.

After Super Tuesday, the once and future president should announce his running mate. Mr. Scott would make a great choice.

• Don Feder is a columnist with The Washington Times.

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