South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley appointed tea party Rep. Tim Scott Monday to succeed resigning Sen. Jim DeMint, making him the first African-American Republican to serve in the U.S. Senate in more than three decades and the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction.
Race and history aside, Haley hailed Scott as a unique political talent with a keen understanding of business and “the value of a dollar.”
“This is truly an historic moment for the Palmetto State from a governor who’s broken more than a few barriers in her own career,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.
Upon being introduced by Haley, Scott asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., and praised his “Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” He acknowledged his mother, Frances Scott, who was sitting in the audience and taught him that sometimes “love has to come at the end of a switch.”
“My mother did not quit on me,” he said.
As talks to avert the “fiscal cliff” continue, Scott signaled he would continue in the tradition of DeMint, drawing attention to the nation’s $16 trillion debt.