Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. sat down with NBC News anchor Tom Llamas at Charleston Southern University on Monday for his first interview after announcing his presidential bid.
Scott discussed his views on Ukraine, abortion, China and transgender athletes, as well as how he distinguishes himself from former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Scott jumped into the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination at his alma mater, saying he would like to be a president “who persuades not only our friends and our base” but also has “compassion for people who don’t agree with us.”
Tune in for the full interview on NBC Nightly News on Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
TOM LLAMAS: Senator, how you doing?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Hello, man. How are you?
TOM LLAMAS: Congratulations.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
TOM LLAMAS: Looking forward to our conversation.
TOM LLAMAS: So Senator, you know, it was pretty incredible watching your speech there. You mentioned your grandfather picking cotton–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yes, yes.
TOM LLAMAS: And then today you announced you’re running for president.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yeah.
TOM LLAMAS: What’s that like?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: It’s really an amazing journey. So much of it has to do with the evolution of the American heart, how much has changed in a single lifetime. I do think back, and I did this morning before I went onstage, just thinking back to my grandfather. 1921, the real Jim Crow South, when you’re walking off the sidewalk when a white person’s coming, you don’t make eye contact. The indignities of life that was everyday reality. To think that when I was seven years old, moving into this place and literally having that guy tell me, “You can be bitter or better.”
Thinking about it now, it’s unbelievable that he had that kind of faith in what could be. It does come down to having faith in the good Lord, having faith in yourself, and hopefully one day the nation will change.
To have him live long enough to see that change, he died in 2016, having him long enough to not only vote for me for Congress, but to be a U.S. Senator, it’s a humbling reality. It’s also a joy-filled day, where you really do take the time to say if America can change that much in a single life, what would happen if we started believing in each other again? What would happen if we put the rocks down and stopped being red and blue and Black and white and we literally just became one American family?
TOM LLAMAS: So you have a very positive message, a hopeful message. You quote scripture. And yet the two people leading the GOP field right now, former President Trump and Governor DeSantis, they’re not afraid to demonize their opponents. So my question to you is do you think GOP voters want someone carrying a Bible or do they want someone driving a bulldozer into the Democrats?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Or do people (UNINTEL) with their Bible as necessary, (LAUGH) that’s kind of the question, right? One thing you’ll learn about the gospel is that in both Old Testament and New Testament, Jesus took a whip out and– and tore up the synagogue because he had no choice.
So the truth is that what people really want is an optimistic, positive, conservative who has a backbone but also believes that the best is yet to come. I– I’ve learned in my Faith in America Tour that you don’t have to have a Bible. People don’t have to believe as you believe. What they want is someone who’s willing to stand in the arena for what you believe then. And I believe that common sense leads to common ground. So I– I don’t think you have to be a pessimist to be strong.
TOM LLAMAS: You know, in 2021 you said you would support former President Trump if he ran again for reelection. He’s running but now you just announced your candidacy. What changed?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: I believe America can do for anyone what she has done for me. That’s why I’m focusing on restoring hope, creating opportunities, and making sure that we protect the America that we have. I also believe that we have to have a president that persuades, not just within our base, but even on the other side of the aisle. I know I am the candidate that best gets that done.
TOM LLAMAS: So explain that a little more to me, ‘cause it sounds like you’re trying to draw a contrast there. What will you offer voters that former President Trump will not?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, the question is who do I– I’m running for really period. I plan to win. So the question is what do the voters want in their president? They want someone who can persuade on the issues that matter the most to them. Let’s walk through a couple of the issues that matter to the American people.
Our southern border, as I said in my speech today, it’s unsafe, insecure, and wide open. I talked today to have legislation that’s written by a guy named Alan Chow (PH) whose son, Alan Chow II, died of an overdose in fentanyl, first use.
Closing that southern border saves perhaps tens of thousands of American lives. 70,000 Americans have lost their lives in a single year because of fentanyl. Building the wall, using the latest and greatest technology that’s available today, about $5 billion, will provide more surveillance on our southern border to stop fentanyl from crossing our border.
A hundred-plus people on our national security watch list are coming across our southern border. Folks from Iran, I was talking to my brother who lives in San Antonio, five folks from Iran found on our southern border trying to get across. Thousands, 6,000 more– folks from China have come to our southern border since October of last year and February of this year.
TOM LLAMAS: Yeah, you don’t–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: That’s a huge– that’s a huge problem.
TOM LLAMAS: In your speech you– you mentioned what sounded like using the U.S. military to take out cartels. Did I understand that correctly?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, here– here’s what I said. What we should do is whatever it takes to secure our southern border and stop the Mexican cartels from bringing fentanyl across the border–
TOM LLAMAS: Would you wanna use the U.S. military to attack cartels–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Here’s– here’s how– several ways that we could do that. Number one, I have legislation that freezes, and I said this, the first thing I said, it’ll cease to exist. What was our first example? (UNINTEL) Fentanyl will stop when you cut off the money supply.
We have the ability and the power to use sanctions to freeze the assets of the Mexican cartels today. There are 500 people that are involved in the three major cartels, net worth around $20 billion for a couple of them. Can we use the resources that are available today to stop fentanyl from coming across our border? Absolutely. Should– should we have more of a military presence on our– on our southern border? Obviously we should. Shouldn’t–
TOM LLAMAS: But are you advocating for using U.S. military–
TOM LLAMAS: –to invade cartels in Mexico–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Should we–
TOM LLAMAS: –on Mexico’s land?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: –should we provide the resources necessary on our border to protect our citizens? Absolutely. Should we say exactly what we’re gonna do? Of course not.
TOM LLAMAS: But– but you wouldn’t be against using the U.S. military to– to take out cartels in Mexico? I’m trying to understand.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: No, I know you are. I– I’m simply saying that all options are on the table to protect American lives.
TOM LLAMAS: Okay. Going back to– to the race for president here, strange, you know, I’ve never seen– I’ve– I’ve covered President Trump for a long time, g I’ve never seen him do this, but he sent a tweet saying, “Good luck to Senator Tim Scott in entering the Republican presidential primary race.” He’s complimenting you. “It’s rapidly loading up with lots of people and Tim is a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally unlikable.” It doesn’t sound like former President Trump is worried about you.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, I’ll say this, I– I’d appreciate his vote as well. So the truth of the matter is that I do think that the power of persuasion is necessary for the next president. I happen to look forward to being that next president, and so I will take all the votes I can get from anyone, anywhere, anytime, as I head into this election.
TOM LLAMAS: You’re saying– I– I– I’m– I’m listening to you. You’re saying you’re a better deal-maker than President Trump, former President Trump–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: What I’m saying is that I look forward to persuading the American people, right and left, within my base and on the far side, to making sure that we move this country forward using common sense on a common ground. Some of the reason why I said– I meant it when I said it, whether it’s the boardroom or classroom, whether it’s the skeptics, even in a church, I plan to take my message to every corridor of this nation.
TOM LLAMAS: Would you ever try to overturn an election you lost?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: No.
TOM LLAMAS: What do you– what do you think about President Trump’s behavior after the 2020 election and to– into January 6th?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: We can do two things here, we can have a conversation about President Trump or we can have a conversation about my vision for the future. I’m gonna stay on my future, my– my vision for the future for a couple reasons.
TOM LLAMAS: But it was a historical moment. I think voters deserve to know–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: I– I– actually– I was actually in there, so I know exactly how historic it was. But what I will say is simply this, that the future that America is focusing on is what I’m gonna provide. I’m gonna continue to talk about those conservative principles that move this country forward with the best path for all of us.
TOM LLAMAS: You know, what do you think about Governor Ron DeSantis? Why do you think people have– have looked at his campaign? Why do you think he’s polling second?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yeah, yeah, that’s Ron DeSantis, and people are– you know, they (UNINTEL PHRASE)–
TOM LLAMAS: But how are you different from Governor Ron DeSantis, do you think?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: A couple things that I’d say, number one. Having an optimistic, positive message that is actually anchored in conservatism and in optimism matters a lot. And for number two, I’d say that our work in the– on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that we were able to slash taxes, bring home jobs, as well as creating opportunity zones was legislation both the tax cuts, TCJA, and opportunity zones, both legislations, one of the key authors on the TCJA, and the lead author on the opportunity zones.
Having a chance to allow my life to disprove the lies of the left is just critically important. About half the country today makes around $35,000 a year. That means that 45% of Americans don’t have $2,000 in their savings account. I know what it feels like to walk into my home, hit the light switch, and nothing happens.
I know what it feels like to be hungry. I wanna make sure that we keep our focus on everyday working Americans. The problems today in politics is too often we talk too much about the politicians. Let’s talk about the American people.
TOM LLAMAS: Yeah. Let’s talk about some of the issues now. And abortion–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Sure.
TOM LLAMAS: –I wanna start there. There’s been some back and forth. I wanna know what– and you’ve spoken so much in the campaign trail about abortion, and yet today in your announcement the– there were only a few words it sounded like. Where do you stand on abortion?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, I believe that life has intrinsic value, because it comes from god. I have a 100% pro life voting record. I’m 100% pro life conservative. As president of the United States I would sign the most conservative legislation, pro life legislation that can get to my desk.
Here’s the issue though. Nothing can get to my desk unless we first win the hearts and minds of the American people. And what that leaves as a consequence is what the Democrats did just last year, they voted for, in the Senate, allowing for abortions until the day of birth.
No Americans that I know of agree with that. And so having the ability to have a serious conversation with the American people about the culture of life, and having a chance to win over skeptics to my point of view is the only way you actually have a chance to have any legislation pass through the United States Congress.
TOM LLAMAS: Governor DeSantis signed into law a six week ban for abortion. Do you think that’s a good idea?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Listen, one of the things that we have to wrestle with is how do we protect the culture of life? I celebrate states that actually get the culture of life in the focus and get something done. As a nation we’re gonna have to have a serious conversation, first about how we find a path through Congress. As president that’s the g– goal, but to find the path–
TOM LLAMAS: Where– where is Governor Tim Scott? There’s been 12 weeks in some states, six weeks in other states. Where do you stand?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, I obviously stand on the legislation that has been before me. I am a cosponsor of legislation on a 20 week (UNINTEL) bill. The question that we’re asking, however, is not about me as a United States Senator. It’s about me as president of the United States.
So in order for us to have the most conservative, pro life legislation pass through Congress, we’re gonna have to first have a serious conversation with the American people so that we can have legislation pro– proposed and pass. Until that happens–
TOM LLAMAS: Former President Trump has said the six week, or at least he’s signaled that six week ban, it may be too harsh. What do you say to that? Is it too harsh? Is six weeks too much?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: I’ll just repeat what I’ve already said, which is having states that appreciate the culture of life is a good thing. Having Congress pass something so that I, as president of the United States, have a chance to sign it will first require us to win the hearts and minds of–
TOM LLAMAS: If you had a chance, now according to your plan if it went through Congress, would you be in favor of a federal ban on abortion?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: We won’t see legislation like that come through Congress if we don’t first win the hearts and minds of the American people.
TOM LLAMAS: But do you think that would be a good idea? You wouldn’t be opposed to that?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: I’m not suggesting– I’m only saying what I’m saying. So this is–
TOM LLAMAS: But I’m trying to understand what you’re saying, yeah–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: I– what– this is very– let me– let me say it very clearly. If we don’t win the American people on either side of this debate for life, nothing gets through Congress. What legislation do we have today that gets through Congress? I’ve cosponsored a 20 week bill. I’ve signaled very clearly I’d sign a 15 week bill. Here’s what we know. None of that is possible. So we’re having hypothetical conversations–
TOM LLAMAS: No, I hear you.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: –until we actually have a serious conversation with the American people. And that’s why I think you have to have a president with the power of persuasion.
TOM LLAMAS: What would you say to a female voter who says, “I like Senator Tim Scott. I wanna turn the page from Trump, but I don’t want him messing with my body”?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: I would say, (LAUGH) this is a simple conversation, until we have the power of persuasion there is not a legislative path forward.
TOM LLAMAS: Well, I don’t even under– I’m sorry, Senator, I’m trying to follow you. Like, explain that to me. A woman says, “I like your policies. I like your message. I wanna move past Trump. I don’t– I don’t wanna– you to– to infringe on my– my abortion rights.”
Republicans have had a very tough time. They had a tough time in the midterms. We’ve seen state after state sort of reject harsh abortion restrictions. I wanna know what you would do and how– how you’d be able to win both in a primary and a general election.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yeah, well, I think my message actually works. You’re stuck on abortion, I’m not. So the truth is that if we continue to have a conversation about the culture of life, I think we’ll have more converts. If we don’t have that conversation, if all we’re gonna do is demonize folks, we won’t get there.
And so for me as president, one of the first things that we can do is have a conversation with the American people about the culture of life. We’re seeing states make their own decisions. The question is, from a federal perspective, where does that conversation go? And we have to get there.
TOM LLAMAS: Let’s turn to Ukraine. Governor DeSantis initially described the war in Ukraine as a territorial dispute.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yeah.
TOM LLAMAS: Do you– do you agree with him?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Here’s what I say. President Biden has done a terrible job explaining and articulating to the American people what is America’s vital, national interest in Ukraine. From my perspective and from the American people’s perspective that answer is degrading the Russian military.
The more we degrade the Russian military, the m– less likely there is to be an attack on our sovereign territory. And it protects our NATO partners. I think that we should be in Ukraine. I believe that the truth is simple, that degrading the Russian military is in America’s best interest. And the more we do that, the faster we get it done, the better off the entire world is–
TOM LLAMAS: I wanna– I wanna make sure I follow you correctly.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Sure.
TOM LLAMAS: You– you believe Governor DeSantis’s comments were degrading the Russian military? I wanna understand what you’re saying–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: No. (THROAT CLEAR) I’ll tell you what my– my objective is. As president of the United States, I would clearly state America’s national, vital interest includes degrading the Russian military. Therefore our presence in Ukraine is actually essential for us– achieving that objective. By doing some we reduce attacks on our homeland as well as the NATO partners that are contiguous (UNINTEL)–
TOM LLAMAS: So to be clear, you– you disagree with him on that point. You do not think– you think it’s much bigger than a territorial dispute.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Obviously.
TOM LLAMAS: You know, you– you are speaking very strongly on Ukraine, and former President Trump signaled that he didn’t care who won or lost between Ukraine and Russia. Was he wrong?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, I’ve said this a couple times, and I’ll (LAUGH) say it one more time. I think understanding and then articulating America’s position of why we’re in Ukraine is really helpful to the American people. Here some people are saying, all over the country, we need a president who understands and then clearly identifies America’s national interests.
Which would include what we’re doing in Russia, but would also include what we’re not doing on the southern border. Being able to address the importance of securing our southern border, stopping fentanyl, stopping the (UNINTEL PHRASE) as well as six million illegal immigrants from entering into our country, critically important.
At the same time they wanna know why we’re in Ukraine? I think making sure that you make it simple, keep it concise and direct solves a lotta problems for the American people to understand why we’re using our resources to decimate, hopefully, the Russian military.
TOM LLAMAS: So you hope that Ukraine wins this war.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Of course.
TOM LLAMAS: And that– and that is the– the– the position the United States should have.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yes.
TOM LLAMAS: Okay. Moving on to immigration. Again, we touched upon it but I wanna go back. Do you consider Mexico a trusted partner?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, the– the– our southern border needs a lotta work. We’ve had some really good policies that have worked in the past, making sure that we get back to some those policies (UNINTEL) president. Biden has tried that, even though that the asylum process– policy is better as it was, I think that’s a good decision. I would say that the truth of our partnership with Mexico can be strengthened by having a stronger president in the White House.
TOM LLAMAS: And then what would it take for someone to get asylum, in your opinion?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, I do think that the way the process should start is that if you’re coming across other contiguous countries that you don’t get asylum here if you do not ask for it there.
TOM LLAMAS: So you– you– you like that aspect of–
(SENATOR TIM SCOTT: UNINTEL)
TOM LLAMAS: –President Biden’s plan, the immigration plan.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, it’s– it’s actually a Trump plan that became the Biden plan that was a convenient (UNINTEL).
TOM LLAMAS: Okay. So you’re okay with that. Okay. I just wanna make sure on that. All right, let’s go to China. If you were president and China invaded Taiwan, would you defend Taiwan and use the full force of the U.S. military?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, that’s a hypothetical situation that we should understand. I think the first thing we will do is, number one, help the American people understand our national vital interests in Taiwan as well, understand what it– would be required for us to be successful in the fact that against China– having had conversations with folks in our– the NSA and other parts of the administration– previous administration as well, Taiwan is an absolutely essential component for America. I think having the ability to defend Taiwan is critic– critically important.
TOM LLAMAS: I appreciate the answer, Senator. I do wanna go back to the question. Would you, would we defend Taiwan if China invaded?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: I’ll just give you my same answer, because at the end of the day working through the scenarios are important, and making sure that the American people understand our national vital interest in Taiwan is important. We have said very clearly and very consistently that we stand shoulder to shoulder.
It’s one of the reasons why we continue exercises with the t– Taiwanese people. And so I would think that having the opportunity to first instill the importance of Taiwan, second continue to provide the resources, third, continue to provide the– the equipment and the military weaponry– that puts us in that strongest position. And if necessary, then we make that decision at the time.
TOM LLAMAS: Would you go as far as sending U.S. troops? Would– would you– would you go that far?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, I c– I’m not gonna deal with the hypothetical.
TOM LLAMAS: Okay. Do you see China as America’s enemy?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: I see China as certainly our economic adversary, and growing stronger every day. I think we are in the era of a new Cold War without any question. I look at the Made in China 2025 plan. I look at their Belt and Road project. I look at what they’re doing to get more– allies in Latin America.
I’ve seen their work with– Russia as well, and Iran. So I would say without any question they are an economic adversary, but the vast majority of the American people, and I agree, which is the fact that they are growing stronger and becoming (UNINTEL) along the way.
And we have– the responsibility of responding. And the best way for us to respond to a growing China threat is for us to make sure that we reassure as many of the (UNINTEL) as we possibly can, and rebuild our economy. Our– our economic power is our first line of defense, and that is the– objective that I would have.
TOM LLAMAS: And so, you know, you mentioned this in your speech, it’s about China buying American farmland, infiltrating our airspace and tracking our kids.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yes.
TOM LLAMAS: Should we ban TikTok?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: We should certainly sever the Chinese relationship with TikTok. That’s the– that’s the real question that parents have. They have 150 million folks that are using TikTok in this country, is my understanding. The question is is there a way for us to stop China from being able to have surveillance on our kids? I think disconnecting China from that is really–
TOM LLAMAS: What does that mean, though? Disconnected to China–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: This is– this is a test– look, you could sell it. You could– actually there’s– a program or a project called the Texas Project, I believe is the actual name of it, that provides ways for us to use cloud computing to disconnect the relationship, to sever it. I think we have to look at the alternatives on the table. (UNINTEL PHRASE) whether they’re talking about the– the need to use our (UNINTEL).
TOM LLAMAS: Your– your colleagues have called it digital fentanyl. You’ve talked a lot about fentanyl, that it can influence elections, suggesting that it could be used to spy. This is all TikTok.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yeah.
TOM LLAMAS: And I bring this up to you because your top donor is Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle. TikTok’s servers in America are run by Oracle. Does that trouble you at all?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: The ability to sever the relationship with China is absolutely essential. I said this before, it doesn’t matter who the donors are, but what matters is the American people. It matters protecting our kids. This is a simple concept. If you can sever the relationship, get it done. And whether that’s a sale or any other possible way.
TOM LLAMAS: But it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable at all?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: What part?
TOM LLAMAS: That– Oracle hosting those servers, an American company hosting the TikTok servers?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Is there– we should sever the relationship with China–
TOM LLAMAS: Yeah, okay. On police reform, you mentioned your support for the blue. And is it– it’s– it’s a position you’re not afraid to say at all. You’ve also worked on police reform. You tried to pass some legislation. We had that moment in our country, I feel like we have these moments every year.
This year it was Tyre Nichols, just unbelievable to watch that video. I’m sure you watched it as well. How do you balance, as you run in the GOP primary, letting voters know you support the men and women in blue, but also that you want police officers and police districts to be better?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: I think it’s kinda simple. Average Americans across this country believe in protecting our law enforcement officers that are experiencing a 70% increase in ambushes, being attacked more this past year than any other year. And at the same time you want the best (UNINTEL). It’s one of the reasons why I focus on better training, better resources for the men and women wearing the badge. That’s– it’s called common sense from my perspective. I don’t know any Americans that don’t want the same outcome.
TOM LLAMAS: Why– why weren’t you able to get police reform? You were working with Senator Cory Booker. It sounded like everyone was sort of making conc– concessions. You were getting there. And then it suddenly collapsed. And I– and I– I wonder, could you not help it get pushed through because you knew you were gonna run in a Republican primary?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Not at all. Republicans want to provide more resources for our officers. The Democrats wanna defund the police. Republicans want us to stand up for our communities and make sure that the officers that are in those communities are safe, and the community members are safe as well. Unfortunately, demoralizing and demonizing law enforcement officers just doesn’t work. Having that at– at the negotiation– table wasn’t effective. Cory and I continue to work on police reform. We worked on it less than two weeks ago.
TOM LLAMAS: Do you think– do you think it’ll– something will actually happen?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well we– something’s already happened. We’ve already had parts of the legislation pass and become laws, including the deescalation training that we (UNINTEL).
TOM LLAMAS: Okay. I wanna talk about some social issues here. You were an athlete growing up.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yes.
TOM LLAMAS: Do you think a teenage boy who transitions to female should compete in girls sports?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: No.
TOM LLAMAS: Would you– would you support any type of legislation, either, I mean, would you support federal legislation to ban transgender athletes?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, listen, I– I think the– challenge of allowing for someone who’s– I was a college athlete, like you said. I had the opportunity to be on the football field. I understand that the– the advantage of being a male competing against women has. Unfortunately, I don’t agree with that. I think that–
TOM LLAMAS: Do you think that should be a federal law?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:Well, I would support making sure that women compete against women and men compete against men.
TOM LLAMAS: I got you. A couple more questions, then I think we’re wrapping–(OVERTALK)
TOM LLAMAS: I– I have one more. Senator, (UNINTEL) we can do one more. Just– I wanna ask you about your religion if we can, just real quick, senator. And I’m sorry we’ve taken up so much time, I was told we had more time. But–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: No. (UNINTEL PHRASE)
TOM LLAMAS: Can you share with– can you share with me the moment where you gave your life to Christ?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yeah. So here’s– the moment that matters the most was (UNINTEL) I had a car accident. I was driving my car down the interstate in 1982. I found myself going through the windshield, coming back in the car, and devastated. Devastated. Lost six weeks of my senior football season.
And for me, football was my entire life. And I thought it was the best path out of poverty. I will say, without any question, that that started the process of turning towards faith. And about a year later I found that life’s ultimate meaning had less to do with just my selfish ambitions and more to do with certainly a greater cause.
TOM LLAMAS: Was there a moment you felt Jesus’s presence?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Oh, September 22nd, 1983, when I gave my life to the lord, I can say without any question I– I felt a peace that surpasses all understanding.
TOM LLAMAS: There’s a question America would love for you to answer. If you become president you’d be like Grover Cleveland and James Buchanan, you would– you’d go as a bachelor, as a single man. Is– is there someone in your life– h– is there time for a woman in your life right now?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Oh, there’s always– there’s always time for– a great relationship with a wonderful woman. And I thank god that that is happening. But– so I’ll leave it there.
TOM LLAMAS: Okay.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Thank you–
TOM LLAMAS: We appreciate your time, and we thank you. Thank you for everything, Senator.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com