President Trump met Wednesday with Sen. Tim Scott, the upper chamber’s only African American Republican.
Exactly what was said and by whom was the source of some disagreement afterward. Scott (R-S.C.) said that he reaffirmed his belief that Trump’s comments after the deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville last month was not satisfactory.
“In regards to Charlottesville, I was clear before today’s meeting and I was clear again while we met regarding my feelings for how the President responded,” Scott said in a statement.
Trump’s top spokeswoman offered a different account.
“Did Senator Scott express his displeasure, at all, with the president’s initial reaction to Charlottesville?” a reporter asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a news briefing.
“Not at all,” Sanders responded. “They talked about it pretty in depth, but the focus was primarily on solutions moving forward. And that was what both people came to the meeting wanting to discuss, is what we can do to bring people together, not talk about divisions within the country.”
After Trump blamed “both sides” in the aftermath of the Charlottesville rally, Scott said in an interview with Vice News that Trump’s “moral authority” was “compromised.” In his initial reaction, Trump denounced violence “on many sides.” In between those two comments, he condemned the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.
Scott told reporters Thursday that he and Trump “talked about a number of issues.”
“I thought it went pretty well,” Scott said, calling the meeting a “constructive” talk.
A news release and photograph of the meeting issued by the White House attracted attention on social media. The caption under the picture mistakenly referred to the South Carolina Republican senator as “Tom Scott” instead of Tim Scott.