WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott plans to launch a presidential exploratory committee on Wednesday, a key step toward running for president in 2024, The Post and Courier newspaper in South Carolina reported late on Tuesday, citing sources.
If he were to run, Scott would challenge former President Donald Trump, who launched his campaign in November and recently became the first former U.S. president to be criminally indicted by a grand jury.
On Wednesday, Scott will be in Iowa, the lead-off state in the Republican presidential nominating process. He will then travel to New Hampshire on Thursday before coming back to his home state of South Carolina on Friday ahead of a local summit in Charleston, the newspaper said.
As the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate, Scott, 57, has taken a leading role on police-reform efforts and has spoken frequently on racial issues.
Scott often called out Trump during his presidency over racially charged comments and blocked several of his judicial nominees for such reasons. At the same time, Scott has accused Democrats of exploiting racial tensions for partisan gain.
Scott has described being the victim of racial prejudice but has insisted, as he put it in a 2021 speech, that “America is not a racist country.”
Republicans who have formally launched campaigns for the party’s 2024 nomination include former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, activist investor Vivek Ramaswamy and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence are also expected to join the race, though neither have announced their candidacy. Polls show DeSantis as Trump’s closest rival for the Republican nomination.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Scott Malone and Gerry Doyle)
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