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Major tensions around the country on the police, on criminal justice, on race. Some anarchists are talking about defunding the police, abolish the police, ginning up racial tensions. Well, we have a serious person here who can speak with great authority on real criminal justice reform and on real racial experiences in America. This is verdict with Ted Cruz.
Welcome back to Verdict with Ted Cruz. I'm Michael Knowles. We will get to our special guest in just one second. But first, I have to thank you so much. We've now got over 10 million downloads on this podcast, and it's all thanks to you. I really exceeded our expectations and we're so glad to be able to continue to do it. Please head over on Apple podcasts. I leave a five star review, if you would like to add.
If you want to leave less than don't leave anything at all. Thank you very much. And please go subscribe. Wherever you listen to podcasts. All right. Because the senator is the greatest booking producer in the history of podcasts. I'm joined by Senator Tim Scott.
He is really good at what he does. Not just involve world, but they're all worlds in all. I am so glad. Well, first of all, Senator Cruz, thank you for bringing Senator Scott on. Senator Scott, you are behind you were the author behind probably the most significant piece of legislation that the Senate is considering right now. That would be the Justice Act. Yes.
Listen, I'm excited about the justice side. I wish our Democrat colleagues were more excited about not the Justice Act only, but about ISIS serving the community that has been wed to the Democrat Party for generations. And they continue to under deliver a while over promising, instead of taking 80 percent today, giving them an opportunity to say to the people and the communities across the country, we hear you, we see you, we are fighting for you. We could have gotten 80 percent delivered today.
They gave the community zero. They decided to make it an election year issue, an election in November issue, a presidential election issue and best just so unfortunate for so many kids living in underserved communities, worried about making it from their house to the school, always having in the back of their consciousness whether or not an interaction will end poorly for them. We could have said, we see you today.
I think what would be helpful to to podcast listeners and viewers it is, is knowing something, your personal story. This is this is a faith journey and a life journey for me.
And so, you know, you grew up yet a pretty tough upbringing. Absolutely. I grew up in a single parent household mired in poverty. My mother and father got divorced. I was about seven years old. I felt like this nation, my community had nothing to offer me. So from seven years old, when you come to that decision. Seven, it's a bad thing. Yikes. You drift and all drifting leaves in the wrong direction. So by seven, seven to 14, I was completely a drifter.
I flunked out of high school as a freshman. I felt a world geography and civics. Civics is the study of politics. So God has a sense of humor.
Failing civics while driving in the body that the most deliberative body in history. Right. I also realized that after being here seven years, I'm not the only one failing civics in the U.S. Senate. As your colleagues, we are battling our civil Spanish and English that year when you fail Spanish and English two languages. No one considers you bilingual. You say, I'll call you. Bye. You can speak any language. But I had two major blessings. A mother who believed that the power of prayer would deliver her child and a mentor, a white guy who said you haven't yet discovered was in you.
You're looking around at your circumstances. Is this a wrong view? You're invision has to be bigger than the vision you see on the outside. And he said, if you look in the mirror and you start blaming yourself, don't blame your dad because he's not around. Do not blame your mother because she's working 16 hours, three days a week and eight hours, two more days a week to put food on the table. Who's to blame yourself? He said, the beauty of it is if you're the problem, the promises in here, if you see the opportunities from the inside.
The obstacle is that the opportunities manifest themselves. And yet what do you make of seeing churches now going up in flames? There's a prominent BLM activist on Twittery said that people need to smash stained glass windows at churches. That doesn't seem productive to me.
Well, this is also the opposite of productive. I would say that that person. I wonder what Martin Luther King Junior would say to that person. I wonder what John Lewis, who was beaten within an inch of his life and never struck back. What would he say at the Pettus Bridge when he's nearly bleeding out? He would say this because he said it to me. Don't get better. Get better. Embrace your nation. Know that if you continue on your journey, it will happen.
We took a 5000 year leap in the last 50 years, mostly because of non-violent protesters who believed in America. Frederick Douglass did the exact same thing. Yeah. He said, I'm not fighting against the Constitution. I'm fighting on the Constitution. Right. I'm going to make the nation live up to what it says in the Constitution.
You know, last week we had a number of senators who went to the floor and read Dr. Martin Luther King's letter from a Birmingham jail, which which I did last week, as well as Tim and I both participate. Yes, that's bipartisan Democrats and Republicans. And it's it's so powerful. You know, we've all read it in school, you know, but it's different when you hear it. And frankly, it's different when you read it out loud.
And to read it on the Senate floor. It is incredibly important, particularly now. And and and, you know, one of the points people forget is Dr. King wasn't just Dr. King. He was Reverend King. The letter from the Birmingham jail was written to my fellow clergymen. It was a call to their church. One of the things he says in that letter is for the church to be a thermostat and not a thermometer. Don't just reflect the bigotry of your community.
Change it. Speak up. It's a call to action. And you look at these riots and vandals and tearing down George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, because, you know, Abraham Lincoln was such a Confederate. He is persona non grata. Yes.
But, you know, Dr. King and Frederick Douglass, they made explicit appeals to the founding principles of our country. They said, look, we haven't reached it yet. But as Dr. King said, the arc of history bends towards justice. Well, speaking of this justice, I do I do want to get to this on this exact point. Senator, you have an admirer, I guess, in the audience. This is from Trey who said, Other than Republican senators like Cruz and Scott and Cotton.
Where is the rest of the Senate GOP on justice as we have? And the phrase that they used is an Arko communist insurrectionists tearing down our country's culture and history?
Well, there's a that must be a friend of Ted that just is Trey Gowdy. I'm sure Trey Gowdy fact.
Trey G. I did tell him the call. Somebody call.
So, yeah, I think our conference is I think we're coming closer and closer to the plate. I think on many issues, we were almost shy in our response to some of the challenges that we saw on the streets. But we just didn't know what to do. One of the things that causes that kind of paralysis is when you think you have to make a choice between law enforcement and communities of color. That is not the binary choice on the table today.
Yeah, the binary choices for America or against America. In order to have that as the actual choice, we have to say I am for law enforcement and I'm for communities color. No conjunction called or it's. And when that happens, I think we all rise up. I've been thankful to see the conference coming closer. Closer now into the microphone, but to the plate, we had 53 Republicans say, let's start debating. I can't imagine that five years ago because five years ago I couldn't get Democrats to get into the debate.
Well, and Tim's point about and is it is really important protecting civil rights. That doesn't just protect American American citizens. That protects police officers because police officers to do their jobs, they've got to have the trust of the community. And I've I've heard from so many cops right now who are right now, they're demoralized. I mean, they're they're painted as as as the demon. And I think Tim's justice, Jack, was an effort to help help the police officers out there.
Should I have called? Every time there has been a shooting in South Carolina where the officer loses his life? I try to make sure that I'm the first person to call the spouse or the parent. Greg Aleah in outside of Columbia, South Carolina. Lost his life because someone murdered him. The suspect that he was pursuing killed him. Left a 18 month old little boy and a beautiful wife, Cassie. She she showed up at the wake, the viewing, and had a conversation with her and her parents and they were surprised to see me.
I didn't want any cameras were on. I don't want anybody there. I just wanted to say I'm so sorry that someone killed your husband. Several months later, she called my office and she started non-profit organizations for police officers. I've contributed. We've helped. We stay in touch. She's a blessing to our community. Here's the point. So many officers lose their lives not because they're making thirty thousand dollars a year and they're getting rich. It's because when you look at Romans 13, this is there's this notion of mission.
But there are government officials who can be ministers of the gospel carrying a sword. A weapon for what purpose? For a righteous purpose. Her husband lost his life for a righteous purpose. Right. And we should celebrate law enforcement. When I had a major car accident, it was law enforcement that showed up and said to me, son, I was lying on the side of the road. I went through the windshield, came back in my car, fell asleep on Interstate 26, literally on the interstate, rolling through traffic in my car.
I was laying there with glass in my backside and my back. And he looks down at me as his son. Your mom is gonna be so happy you're alive and relative innocence or you don't know my mom.
What do you find? Didn't hear time to tell me. Was that your mother values?
You write more than this car. Yeah. He was saying to me. Yeah. As he bent down and said, Son, you're so much more valuable. Yeah. You have intrinsic worth far beyond any material possession. Right. He was speaking words of affirmation to who I was.
Well, speaking of words of affirmation, yes. I'm glad to hear that you got a nice phone call at your office, because I understand you get many phone calls that are not very nice at your office.
You know, I unfortunately get a lot of phone calls that are not that nice, and unfortunately, I have learned to deal with it. But there are not always words of encouragement.
You know, this is kind of a this is a safe space we like to think about. I mean, this is what we try to keep as a pretty personal. Yes, seriously. Could we listen? Yeah. A quick note for our loyal audience. What you are about to hear are some profane voicemails received by the office of Senator Tim Scott. That reflect the ongoing racism by certain individuals in this country, specifically against black conservatives, because it's an important part of the context for this episode.
We have chosen to play the uncensored sound if you do not wish to hear these recordings. You may choose to tune out now. Tim. Yes, Willie. You motherfucker, you. I hope you choke me no fucking tongues like this. I don't wish that. Good for your motherfucking eyes. You are the lowest of shit this country ever produced. You sell out, motherfucker. Your mom. No good. Your sperm donor is even fucking worse.
Is such a fucking a face that cum kitchen bitch. Once again. Thank you. This is from the Sunshine State. Also Ravenhill bit you you to him and he slapped me. You second hand me second you Marco who was little a bitch who tells all people. Rick Scott. They got their. So all you motherfuckers go burn in hell with him. So take your ticket. Well trick here you second motherfucker. Have a great day and enjoy your evening.
By. I said one. Me. This next one. My new staff assistant just graduate from college. First job gets to hear this.
That's not to hide what they are doing. You fucking put your cover. This. The nasty, too. Oh, you fucker, Republicans next. Most people call it the well-deserved motherfucking wall, too. I. My first wife. So fuck you motherfuckers, you pieces of shit. All cum buckets. And then later on, another one calls, so say he got me in the crosshairs. That's pretty explicit, threatening language. Absolutely. There's a level of hate that gets directed at Tim that frankly is different from other members account.
Why is that?
I think I know the answer, but like to hear your thoughts, unfortunately, you know, being obviously the racial the racial overtones, the racial words, the slurs, the challenges are, you know, being a black conservative where you're out of sync with with the heat, what he thinks is the black cause, it incites a kind of rage. And anger that could lead to violent outcomes in a way that very few things I've seen in my life has ever done.
And, you know, when you get 16 of these, you your staff assistance here, your front line folks start wondering what in the world right to 2011. We literally shut our phones down because a number of racial slurs that we were getting from around the country himself, killing them instantly.
All someplace else.
I started this journey five years ago because of the Walter Scott murder in North Charleston, South. Go to my hometown where I grew up. And frankly, Walter Scott was running away from the police. He was shot five times, shot at eight times, was shot five times in the back. The officer falsified the police report and said that he took his taser when the video came out, which was a few weeks later. Literally No one. There was not even a conversation about what happened in the incident because we had an incident report.
Right. Had it not been for some guy literally walking by at the exact right moment, the exact right street. With his phone out, capturing the actual interaction, the engagement, without that video, we would not have known Walter Scott's name at all.
Well, you know, I think the Walter Scott one for a lot of us, sometimes these are complex situations. Sometimes the officers use of force is justified. The Walter Scott one, everyone looked at and said, this is outrageous. It's just so clear. And I know there are some people in this debate who say that we need to abolish the police. The police are hopelessly corrupt and we got it. Well, I don't know. There are the anarchists in Seattle right now.
And then there are some people who say the police don't need any kind of reform at all. You do have an interesting perspective here, because you're one of the most prominent black politicians in the country. And you're the author of this criminal act for criminal justice reform bill.
Yeah. And one of the reasons why I think I have credibility on the topic is not just because I'm an African-American, but that's helpful, especially when so many of these incidents are African-American men. Yeah. Having challenges with law enforcement. I'm the guy that got stopped seven times as an elected official, just driving while black stopped nine times, I believe that year, seven times for doing nothing in two times for speeding. So speeding tickets, but the other seven times for nothing, 18 unnecessary stops in the last two decades.
I would like to just put a pause there for a moment because I actually didn't know that. Yes. This is a this is a personal experience of an elected U.S. senator.
Well, this year, this U.S. senator was stopped by police for failing to use my turn signal early enough in the lane change. I didn't know that was a thing. Yeah, I did not turn signals. Those the thing yet. But literally pulled over. I got a warning ticket, thankfully. But how do you laugh all over it? I called the police chief at another department and they said basically what they're trying to do is get your windows down so they can see they smell any weed or anything in the air.
Get a look inside your car. This is what we call racial profiling. I say I should. It dawned on me that the reason for the stop was to take a look inside. It just didn't it didn't occur to me, even though that was my 18th stop, 17th stop was last year for having my blinkers on while helping someone find their telephone.
And this you can't make this up, right? I mean, is up. And so fortunately for me, I've walked away from each one of those unscathed. I mean, I've got some scar tissue. Emotionally. Yeah.
And then physically, because it's so it's a sort of preposterous thing. And you can laugh about it. OK. They pulled you over for the blinker. But this is this is a real harassment that you have personally experienced.
One percent. Walter Scott was pulled over for a busted tail light. There's a video at least as a scene, I think was in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the guy was riding his bicycle. Enfold over. So what we're talking about is real. But what you said is so important. And I think you've focused on it, the importance of the body camera. One of the reasons why five years ago, I start talking about increasing funding for body cameras by a hundred million dollars per year for five years is because if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video should be worth ten thousand pictures.
Right. Right. Because we have an opportunity not only to see it, but to watch it unfold. That is really important. And I think that dynamic had just been a picture of the law. Law enforcement officer on George Ford's neck. You know, you could debate how long you don't know if he's fighting, if it's a violent situation, you don't get without the video. You don't understand the content.
We don't forget it. Yes, you do. You don't appreciate it. But eight minutes of forty six seconds left later. No one had a question. And you can hear him gasping for his breath saying, I can't breathe. Pleading for his life. I mean, it's it makes a real difference. Yes.
Right. And if we. That united our country. This tells me something that's really important. Our country. The most remarkable country on earth. All the racial divisions we've had in the last several years. We saw that picture. And because there's something in our instinct that says that's just wrong. We are a nation built on fairness. We've been we've. We've always been a nation that was going to progress. We've been making progress for the entire time we saw it.
That was if way to second that cannot see. That cannot be. People were shocked, stunned. They said that that's not actually happening. And once they understood that it was, the entire conversation around police reform became real. I'm afraid that our friends who were playing presidential politics, they're willing to waste the moment. Right. Hoping for an outcome. So they'd rather, you know, I could be wrong. I think they're willing to run campaign on police brutality, maybe more than solve it.
We just saw Senate Democrats filibuster the Justice Act and they did it. I think it's exactly what Tim said. They want a political issue. They want to set campaign in November rather than actually make meaningful progress towards addressing the problem. Doing it responsibly. Look, one of the things Tim did a very good job of also is understanding. The objective here is not to tear down cops. It's not to destroy the police. Officers are keeping vulnerable communities safe.
That's the job. Yeah, well, frankly, Ted, as you just alluded to, there's no doubt in my mind that the people who want character driven, lost force, but the most are communities of color. Sure. The people who are saying, well, I'm down. I want one. I want someone coming immediately. Yeah. Are communities of color. Why not? Because there are always crime ridden neighborhoods. It's because your grandmother, who may not be able to move out of a bad neighborhood economically, should always be in a good neighborhood.
From a social perspective. They want. I want our family members, our loved ones ourselves to always have a responsive law enforcement department. And so this defund police in this autonomous zone concept is antithetical to everything that we believe is dear in the communities of color.
You know, one of the frustrating things, I mean, race.
Slavery is our country's original sin. Yes. And race is an issue. A lot of people demagogue on a lot of Republicans are uncomfortable talking about it.
I away from it too much. We see Democrats this week in the Judiciary Committee. There were several Democrats who said we haven't moved one inch since the 1960s on race. And what utter garbage did enormous strides in the sea of Jim Crow laws, yet segregated schools? We're making a journey now. We've still got a long way to go. Yes, but, you know, I and I think understanding that perspective, so many people have a why they feel the justice system isn't treating them fairly.
I think that's important. And Tim has spoken up a lot particular in the last couple of weeks in the conference, sharing his perspectives. But but one thing that I thought was particularly powerful, people were asking, what do we do with the Confederate statues and renaming and all of this controversy?
And your answer, which which almost immediately was echoed by just about every Republican senator I thought was really powerful.
Well, thank you. You can read it for me since I don't remember it. But if you read it. Yeah. I don't see that the country is better off trying to create the future than reframe the past. Yeah, we spent almost too much time in the rearview mirror and not enough time in the windshield. It's hard not to get in an accident when all your focus is on yesterday. You're right. So for us to reframe the past doesn't benefit almost anyone.
So if we want to reframe the past, however, put up more statues, put up a statue, not just Martin Luther King Junior, what about Rosa Parks or our Booker T. Washington Washington Carver? There's a lot of folks that we can celebrate, but tearing something down does not necessarily build you up. Number one. Number two, why are we spending the time on economic mobility? Why are we not spending the time on education outcomes in a poor zip codes in America?
Why are we not spending the time on creating financial literacy and frankly, literacy to break the pipeline between education and incarceration? If you want to spend all the money in the world or something, please let it not be on tearing down the statue. Let us spend the dollars and the resources on building the future where every single American says, Yes, that's my country.
We have just seconds left. I have to now. Yes. After that, I have to know with all these terrible things in the news and with particularly awful things being directed at you, how do you stay so cheery? I mean, why do you why do you keep doing it? Why would you sign up for this job?
You know, I don't think I signed up for this job. I think I was called into this job. I think when I became a Christian born again believer in 1983, the Lord had a plan for my life. Jeremiah, one five talks about before you were in your mother's womb. He had a plan for us. I think I was hard wired for public service. Why? I don't know. The fact that I find great joy in serving others is something that I think I'm hardwired to do.
And frankly, think about Matthew. Twenty to thirty seven to thirty nine. Loving the Lord, your God with all your heart, mind, soul, strength. The second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. How better do we do that? By making sacrificial offers of our time or talent or treasure. I was a poor kid. No treasure. Time, time, talent. Not enough. So I went into the one area where I knew I could make a difference and hopefully make my moment proud.
Senator, you mentioned a frustrated preacher. I think maybe not so frustrated preacher, I think. And just an honest to God inspiring preacher. I can't beat that. Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator. I'm Michael Knowles. This is verdict with Ted Cruz.