Tim Scott of South Carolina was sworn into office Thursday on a historic day that saw him become the first African-American United States senator from the South since Reconstruction and the upper chamber’s only current black member.
As the only current African-American Republican member of Congress, Scott’s elevation from the House of Representatives to replace former Sen. Jim DeMint makes him a national figure just two years after he arrived in Washington following the 2010 tea party-fueled elections that gave his party control of the House of Representatives.
“Amazing,” said Scott, his mother standing by his side, after being sworn into office by Vice President Joe Biden.
DeMint, who resigned the Senate to lead the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina escorted Scott into the Senate for the swearing-in on the Senate floor. It was followed by a ceremonial swearing-in in the ornate Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol.
In a reflection of the significance of Scott’s promotion, both for the nation and for a Republican Party seeking to become more diverse, dozens of news photographers and TV cameras recorded the ceremonial event, more than those for other new senators. (Miami Herald)