Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has formally entered the race for president. On Monday, former President Donald Trump praised Scott, noting he was a “big step up” from potential runner Ron DeSantis.
In a statement praising Scott and swiping at DeSantis, Trump wrote, “Good luck to Sen. Tim Scott in entering the Republican Presidential Primary Race.”
Trump added: “It is rapidly loading up with lots of people, and Tim is a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally unelectable.”
Trump also noted: “I got Opportunity Zones done with Tim, a big deal that has been highly successful. Good luck Tim!”
DeSantis, who is expected to declare his candidacy this week, is significantly higher in the polls than Scott and widely viewed as Trump’s primary obstacle to the GOP nomination.
Polls vary widely at this early juncture in the 2024 election; however, RealClearPolitics polling shows the following among Republican voters:
Former Vice President Mike Pence (5.6%)
Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (4.3%)
Businessman/entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (3.6%)
The “Opportunity Zones” referenced by Trump in his post refer to an initiative Scott and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) brought forward. The provision provided tax incentives for investment in almost 9,000 underserved and impoverished communities — later termed “Opportunity Zones” across the US.
The 2017 provision provided tax cuts and facilitated private investment of more than $75 billion in underserved communities in its first two years.
Scott also referenced the initiatives during a press conference on Monday, noting that by creating the so-called Opportunity Zones, he “created high employment, low inflation, and fast wage growth for the working class.”
“I was a lead author of the Republican tax reform that slashed taxes for families,” Scott said. “”I brought jobs and investment back from overseas and created Opportunity Zones to inject private dollars into communities that have been left behind. That was one bill. Imagine what we’ll do with an entire agenda.”
Trump followed up the 2017 initiative with an executive order in 2020, encouraging federal agencies to prioritize moving their offices to the opportunity zones.
Scott ended his press conference by criticizing the Biden administration for fiscal policies that have negatively impacted the economy:
“This Administration has taxed, borrowed, and spent trillions of dollars trying to replace a hand up with handouts,” Scott said. “All they bought us was crushing inflation that has devastated families like mine.”
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