Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina campaigned on an positive and uplifting conservative since he launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
But in the wake of Hamas’ sneak attack on Israel eight days ago, the senator has let loose with some blistering verbal jabs at President Biden and some of his 2024 GOP rivals.
“It’s clear language and is forceful language because it is disgusting to see the evil brought upon the Jewish people,” Scott said this weekend in interviews with Fox News Digital and on Fox News’ “Cavuto Live.”
“I’m just irritated and frustrated by what we’ve seen,” Scott said.
Scott has been sharpening his language for weeks, and on Tuesday he accused President Biden of having “blood on his hands” and argued that Biden was “complicit” in the Hamas assault.
“His weakness invited the attack, his cash giveaways to Iran helped fund terrorism,” Scott claimed during a speech at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., as he referred to the Biden administration’s green light earlier this year to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian oil revenues as part of a deal for an exchange for American prisoners. Iran is a major supporter of both Hamas and the Lebanese based Hezbollah — two groups that aim to destroy the Jewish State.
Tehran was not able to access any of the money — which the administration says was heavily monitored and restricted for humanitarian use — but Scott and other Republicans have slammed Biden over the deal. Washington and Qatar quietly agreed following the Hamas attack to re-freeze the funds.
“You have the weakness of President Biden, you invite attacks. When you negotiate a deal, creating a market for hostages, $6 billion to Iran. What did Hamas say? They said thank you to Iran. That, in my opinion, is being complicit,” Scott argued in his Fox News interviews.
Asked about his shift in tone, Scott explained that “as a Christian I gotta tell you I’m just irritated and frustrated by what we’ve seen, the complicit behavior from the President of the United States.”
“I am a big believer in Romans 12:15 that says we should mourn with those who mourn, but the next chapter talks about executing justice, the wrath of God. I think you have to mix those two together to understand why I have a sense of urgency about responding to the atrocities in Israel,” he spotlighted.
Scott’s attacks on Biden last week came hours after the president, in a televised address, once again condemned the Hamas attack.
“In this moment we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel,” Biden said in remarks from the White House. “And we will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself and respond to this attack. There’s no justification for terrorism. There’s no excuse.”
The South Carolina Democratic Party pushed back on Scott’s attacks on the president.
“While President Biden is supporting our allies and leading on the world stage in the wake of the horrific attack on Israel, Tim Scott is desperately trying to distract from his lack of foreign policy creds and failure to deliver for the thousands of American service members at South Carolina’s eight military bases and across the world,” state party chair Christale Spain said in a statement
While targeting Biden, Scott also saved some of his verbal venom for his Republican presidential nomination rivals.
He joined a handful of other GOP White House contenders in saying that comments critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by former President Donald Trump — the commanding front-runner in the 2024 Republican race — were “just wrong.”
He took aim at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy for their past comments on Israel and on the war in Urkaine, arguing that “the last thing we need is a Joe Biden Republican Party wing on foreign policy.”
The senator was anything but the loudest voice at the first Republican presidential nomination debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in August. Because he mostly avoided the numerous verbal fistfights at the first debate, he rarely enjoyed the glare of the primetime spotlight, and his performance was panned by pundits.
“The loudest voices too often say too little,” Scott said in a Fox News interview soon after the first debate.
But in September, Scott told Fox News Digital in an interview that Trump was “wrong” on abortion and charged that Trump, DeSantis, and former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have “run away from protecting life.”
The senator’s criticisms were a sign he was sharpening his contrasts with his rivals for Republican nomination.
Scott delivered a much more aggressive performance at the second debate, which was held on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.