WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate's lone Black Republican who is leading the party's efforts on police reform legislation, shared some of the hateful and racist voicemails he has received in recent days with colleagues at a closed-door GOP lunch on Tuesday.
A sampling of the voicemails, shared with NBC News, revealed profanity laced tirades that include threats against Scott's life as well as references to Confederate flags and the KKK. One caller labeled Scott an "Uncle Tom," and another said he’s going to die because he’s a Black man in the South.
After hearing the messages, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa tweeted his reaction in shorthand, saying, “We ALL hv a responsibility to b kind even when we disagree!”
Scott’s Senate office has turned over all threatening emails and voicemails to the U.S. Capitol Police. At least two of his colleagues have suggested he receive security, which is an option currently being considered, a Scott spokesman said.
An increase in death threats are common during high profile congressional debates. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, temporarily received a security detail during the debate to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a massive uptick in threats against her.
A white supremacist in Georgia plead guilty in 2018 to making threats against Scott and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. And a Floridian was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year after mailing explosives to Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J., former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and former presidential candidate Tom Steyer.
Scott has led the Republican Party on their police reform bill, called the Justice Act. Democrats plan to block a procedural vote on the Scott bill Wednesday, calling it “irrevocably flawed.”