Tim Scott suspends presidential bid as Trump leads Republican pack

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Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina has suspended his presidential campaign, conceding that he does not see any path to the Republican nomination as Donald Trump maintains a significant lead in primary polling.

Scott told Fox News in an interview on Sunday evening that he had suspended his campaign. His exit may provide a modest boost for other candidates trying to dislodge frontrunner Donald Trump from the top spot.

“I think the voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet, have been really clear that they’re telling me: ‘Not now Tim,’” he said.

The news comes less than six months after Scott launched his White House bid with the promise of offering a more optimistic vision about America’s future, projecting the persona of a “happy warrior” ready to lead the Republican party into a new era. Scott, who is the only Black Republican serving in the Senate, used his own personal story as the child of a single mother to make an argument for America’s greatness, accusing Joe Biden and other Democrats of “attacking every rung of the ladder that helped me climb”.

“We live in the land where it is absolutely possible for a kid raised in poverty in a single-parent household in a small apartment to one day serve in the people’s house and maybe even the White House,” Scott said as he announced his candidacy in May. “This is the greatest country on God’s green Earth.”

But that positive messaging failed to sway Republican primary voters, and Scott struggled to gain traction with a party base that remains largely loyal to Trump, despite the 91 felony counts against the former president.

In more recent months, Scott explored darker rhetoric on the campaign trial in an apparent attempt to bolster his dwindling hopes of capturing the nomination. During the second Republican primary debate in late September, Scott implied that slavery had been more bearable for Black Americans than the Great Society, President Lyndon Johnson’s anti-poverty program that led to the creation of social welfare programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The comment won praise from Fox News commentators and sparked outrage among Scott’s critics, who accused Scott of downplaying the atrocities of slavery.

Weeks after that incident, Scott lambasted Biden over his response to the attacks carried out by Hamas on 7 October, which killed more than 1,400 Israelis. Blasting Biden’s foreign policy agenda, Scott accused the president of inadvertently causing the violence.

“While Hamas carried out these attacks, Joe Biden has blood on his hands,” Scott said. “His weakness invited the attack.”

Scott later applauded the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for his “restraint” in his response to the Hamas attacks. At the time Scott made the comment, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza had already reportedly killed a large number of Palestinians.

Despite Scott’s pivot to more severe rhetoric, his level of support in national primary polls remained in the low single digits, leaving him with no path to the nomination. Scott announced in October that he would shift his campaign resources to Iowa, zeroing in on the first voting state in a last-ditch effort to revive his campaign.

But that strategy failed to lift Scott’s polling numbers, and he has now formally suspended his campaign, as Trump cements his status as the clear frontrunner in the race.