The Senate’s only black Republican now loves Trump. It’s not a good look

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The Senate’s only black Republican now loves Trump. It’s not a good look

On Ed

LZ Granderson

January 26, 2024

The first black Republican to serve in the U.S. Senate was a preacher named Hiram Revels. He was born free, to free parents, in 1827. Mississippi state legislators sent Revels to Washington in 1870 to fill one of two vacancies. When the state seceded in 1861, both senators went with it. One of these was Jefferson Davis.

After serving in the Civil War, Revels was a community activist before becoming a politician. Given Davis’ wartime role as president of the Confederacy, Mississippi’s sending of Revels to the Senate was a powerful rebuke of the racism that brought this country to the brink of destruction.

And you know what Revels discovered when he went to Washington?

The same racism that has brought this country to the brink of destruction.

Some Democrats objected to his nomination, claiming Revel’s previous elections were not valid. Others claimed Revels was not a U.S. citizen.




Regardless, Revels and the Republicans of his day overcame that ugliness and made history. And although he served only one year, he used that time to advocate for black voting rights in the South and against segregation in the North. When it became illegal for free black men to live in Missouri, do you know where he moved? Missouri risked his life to be a beacon of hope for those who believed in the promise of America.

Today there is also one black Republican in the US Senate, and this week he said he loves Donald Trump, a man who became the face of the birther movement that overshadowed the country’s first black president. The only black Republican in the Senate wants you to believe Trump will unite the country. At the same time, Trump refers to Nikki Haley, a child of immigrants from India whose given name is Nimarata, as Nimbra.

The first black Republican in the US Senate challenges racism. Today, the only black Republican in the Senate would have you believe that racism is a thing of the past. As if his own biography of being the first black Republican elected to the Senate since Reconstruction isn’t a sign of how racism persists.

In his message of support for Trump, Scott suggested that the former president understood that the American people are tired of being sick and tired. The American people never indicated that Trump was their man. He never even reached 50% in job approval. He didn’t even win the popular vote. The only black Republican in the Senate borrowed a phrase from iconic civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, also a Mississippian, who said in 1964: All my life I’ve been sick and tired. Now I’m tired of being sick and tired.

She rallied support for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, a correction necessary because the state that gave us Senator Revels had reverted to acting like the state that gave the Confederacy President Davis. In 1965, black people were banned from attending Mississippi Democratic Party rallies. In light of that segregation, black residents formed their own Democratic Party.

And now the only black Republican in the Senate in 2024 endorsed a man who speaks highly of the good old days at rallies. A man who wants to be a dictator for a day and make America great again with no explanation as to exactly when he thinks America was at its best.

Maybe Scott is doing all this in hopes of becoming Trump’s running mate, as if that worked out well for Mike Pence. Perhaps a cabinet position or ambassadorial appointment. Or maybe Scott just wants approval from his party, even though it now supports a man who tried to overturn the 2020 election by suing districts where many people of color live.

Regardless of Scott’s reasoning, one thing is clear: the only black Republican in the Senate today is nothing like the first. Revels had space and used his time in office to pursue a just future. And Scott, he loves Trump.



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