On Monday, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) officially declared his 2024 presidential run, joining a crowded GOP primary that has been dominated by former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
He made his announcement at Charleston Southern University, his alma mater, where he shared his story of rising from poverty in North Charleston, S.C., to the Senate.
He said, in remarks prepared for the media before his speech, “We live in the land where it is possible for a kid raised in poverty by a single mother in a small apartment to one day serve in the People’s House and maybe even the White House.”
“This is the greatest country on God’s green Earth.”
Scott tried to sound very hopeful in his speech on Monday, praising the value of work and the chance for growth in America. But he also criticized the country under President Biden’s rule, saying that the U.S. had become a “nation in retreat.”
“They say opportunity in America is a myth and faith in America is a fraud. But the truth of my life disproves their lies,” Scott said. “The good news is all we need to do is turn around.”
But it’s not clear how much Scott’s hopefulness will help him in a Republican primary that is driven by culture wars and conservative anger. The race has so far focused on the expected clash between Trump and DeSantis, who is likely to announce his 2024 run later this week.
Trump greeted Scott into the race on Monday, using the senator’s announcement to attack DeSantis, whom Trump views as his main rival for the 2024 nomination.
“Good luck to Senator Tim Scott in entering the Republican Presidential Primary Race,” Trump said on his social media site, Truth Social. “It is rapidly loading up with lots of people, and Tim is a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally unelectable.”
Scott is the sixth major candidate to enter the 2024 Republican presidential race, along with Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and radio host Larry Elder.
The field is expected to expand further later this week, when DeSantis is likely to announce his campaign.
Scott’s announcement was not a surprise. He had set up a presidential exploratory committee earlier this year and filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Friday revealing his plan to run.
Scott is a popular and friendly senator among Republicans and many Democrats, but he faces a tough challenge for the 2024 GOP nomination.