South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott to discuss Charlottesville response with President on Wednesday

Story highlights

  • Sen. Tim Scott criticized President Donald Trump's comments on Charlottesville
  • Scott's staff has worked with White House staff all year on issues facing people of color

(CNN)Sen. Tim Scott, a rising star and the most prominent African-American Republican in Congress, will meet Wednesday with President Donald Trump at the White House, in part to talk about the President's response to the violence at a White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last month.

The meeting comes just a few weeks after Scott offered some of the bluntest criticism to Trump's Charlottesville reaction, which drew bipartisan criticism for equating white supremacists protesting the removal of confederate monuments with those of counterprotesters.
Scott has worked to bridge racial gaps in the United States, speaking passionately on the Senate floor about his own experiences with racism. He has also worked with white members of the Senate like Sen. James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, to hold weekly dinners with people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds designed to open lines of communication.
    He now plans to take that effort directly to the White House: A source with knowledge of the meeting said Scott plans to discuss what happened in Charlottesville with the President as well as race and specific issues facing people of color. The senator plans to offer his personal perspective in the conversation with the President with the goal of convincing him that he needs more personal interaction with people of color.
    After the President's controversial news conference, in which he said that "both sides" shared blame for the violence that erupted after a march planned by white supremacists, Scott told Vice News that Trump's credibility was damaged.
    "What we want to see from our President is clarity and moral authority," Scott said. "And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happened. There's no question about that."
    Scott's staff has worked with White House staff through 2017 on issues facing people of color, such as support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and opportunities for people in poverty.
    Scott has made no secret of his desire for the President to become more engaged on this topic. In an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation," he said the best way for Mr. Trump to regain his moral authority on this issue would be spend more time interacting with African-Americans.
    "If the President wants to have a better understanding and appreciation for what he should do next, he needs to hear something from folks who have gone through this painful history," Scott said. "Without that personal connection to the painful past, it will be hard for him to regain that moral authority, from my perspective."
    Scott's goal is that his meeting with the President on Wednesday will be the first step in that process, the source said.