Congressman Jim Clyburn implied Tuesday morning that he believed Tim Scott being a member of the Senate was token given to African Americans by Republicans.
Clyburn spoke about the Nov. 3 general election at a news conference held virtually Tuesday morning. He represents Congressional District 6, which includes a large portion of the southeastern part of the state including a portion of southern Florence County and all of Williamsburg County.
Clyburn was asked by a reporter from the Post and Courier about the potential for lasting impact by the campaign of Senate candidate Jaime Harrison.
He said he felt Harrison's campaign would absolutely have an impact on the state. Clyburn said he had told Harrison that he had already made a tremendous contribution to the political order in South Carolina.
"Jaime has shown how it can be done," Clyburn said.
Clyburn added that it's a common refrain for Democrats to say the deck is stacked against them. He then continued to say that he had a real problem with "the foolishness" of people who say that the Democratic Party takes African American votes for granted.
"How can a party take Black people for granted?" Clyburn asked. "There are 55 African Americans people in the United States Congress that are Democrats. There's one Republican House member. There's one Republican senator. How can that be people taking people for granted?"
There are 53 African Americans in the House and three in the Senate. These numbers include 52 African American Democrats in the House − including two delegates from territories − two African American Democrats in the Senate including Sen. Kamala Harris, and one African American Republican in each body.
One of South Carolina's two senators, Scott, is the African American Republican in the Senate. The African American Republican in the House is Texas Rep. Will Hurd.
"If you really want to be honest about it, that one in the Senate and that one in the House sounds like tokenism," Clyburn said.
Clyburn again referenced the 55 African Americans in Congress, and he also added that the African American officeholders in the state were also largely Democratic.
"How is that taking Black people for granted," Clyburn asked. "I've never been able to understand that."
Clyburn added that Harrison had demonstrated to young people of all races that the Democrats are not taking anyone for granted. He also praised a fellowship program created by Harrison that he said attuned people to what the state's politics are about.
Also, Clyburn was asked by a reporter for The State for his thoughts on a Trump campaign official's prediction that Trump would receive more than 10% of African American vote and more than 20% of the votes of African American men.
"I think it's poppycock," Clyburn said. "That's as mild a word as I'm going to use in mixed company."
Clyburn then added that he has three daughters.
"When I saw President Trump look into a camera and speak into a mic and refer to a Black woman who happens to be a friend of mine ... when he looked in that camera and say to Omarosa − who had been an employee of his − [is] a dog, I would just like to meet and have a discussion with the Black man who will vote for anybody who refers to a Black woman as a dog," Clyburn said.
He added that if a person was born into an African American family and still voted for Trump, there was something wrong with them.
Clyburn said that Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris was the first African American and Asian American to be a part of a major national party ticket.
"And you heard this president refer to her as a monster," Clyburn said. "I wondered about that word. ..."
He added that someone in Columbia had recently written a letter to the editor referring to the African American chair of the Richland One school board as a monster.
"I said to myself and spoke to a few other people, we need to find out what that words means or where that word came from," Clyburn said. "To hear Kamala Harris be called a monster, to hear the African American chair of the Richland County One school district board, I think that's something that needs some investigating."
The reporter then followed up by asking how the Trump campaign official's prediction showed the level of communication between the campaign and African Americans.
Clyburn said the campaign and the administration were out of touch with African Americans but in touch with their base of supporters. He added that President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, spoke to that issue on Monday.
Clyburn then added that he had been told all his life what he wanted and needed by people who he said felt they knew more than him.
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