If South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley names Rep. Tim Scott to the Senate, as many have suggested she may, he would essentially have the "same policies" as outgoing GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said Friday on Morning Joe.
While Cleaver referred to Scott as a "good guy" and one who doesn't "say crazy things," he also said Scott would essentially have the same policies as DeMint.
DeMint made a surprise move on Thursday when he announced he'd be leaving the Senate to run the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative think tank. Gov. Haley will have the chance to name a temporary successor, and almost immediately Scott's name was bandied about, thanks probably in no small part to talk that DeMint himself wanted Scott to take over. (The Washington Post notes that DeMint aide Matt Hoskins says that is not the case.)
Cleaver also said that while there's "revolutionary thinking" going on in the GOP, naming Scott to the Senate won't prove much.
"Keep in mind, however—and I think this is a mistake the GOP has made—they assume that if they reach out to African-Americans, meaning running spots on black radio, then that’s reaching out. That’s not," Cleaver said. "There are policy changes that have got to take place, and Tim Scott is essentially going to have the same policies that DeMint had."
The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson said it would be both a big deal for the GOP and for South Carolina, but many would see it as a "cynical move."
"But if it happened, it would be a fact. It would be a fact that here’s a black U.S. Senator from the Deep South. That would be significant, and a big step for the party," Robinson said.
Scott thanked DeMint via an official statement on his site, but made no comment about the speculation he could be up for the job.
“I first want to thank Senator DeMint for the tremendous work he has done on behalf of South Carolina and the nation. His commitment to conservative principles leaves a true legacy, and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know and work with him over the past two years.Looking forward, Governor Haley will now appoint a new Senator, and I know she will make the right choice both for South Carolina and the nation.”