The sole black Republican in the Senate, Tim Scott, tried to explain racism in the U.S. to President Donald Trump Wednesday following the events of Charlottesville, Va. that left a woman dead in the wake of a white nationalist rally last month.
Scott, who represents South Carolina, called Trump’s response to the violence “sterile” and sought to lecture the President on America’s centuries-long history of racism, according to the New York Times. White House staff said Trump’s decision to take the meeting at the Oval Office was an example of the President’s commitment to “positive race relations,” the report said.
Following the meeting, Scott told reporters that he sat down with Trump to express his grievances with the President’s claim that “both sides” — white nationalists and counter-protestors — were responsible for the violence.
“My response was that, while that’s true, I mean I think if you look at it from a sterile perspective, there was an antagonist on the other side,” Scott said, the Times reported.
“However, the real picture has nothing to do with who is on the other side,” he added.
“It has to do with the affirmation of hate groups who over three centuries of this country’s history have made it their mission to create upheaval in minority communities as their reason for existence,” Scott continued. “I shared my thoughts of the last three centuries of challenges from white supremacists, white nationalists, KKK, Nazis. So there’s no way to find an equilibrium when you have three centuries of history versus the situation that is occurring today.”
White House officials emailed reporters a photograph of Trump Wednesday afternoon listening “intently” to Scott’s argument. The White House’s caption misidentified him as Tom Scott, rather than Tim.