Republican VP hopeful Tim Scott flounders on CNN when confronted with Trump revenge plan

South Carolina Republican senator turned Trump booster Tim Scott struggled to defend the former president’s threats of revenge on CNN on Thursday night after the latter was found guilty on all 34 counts by the jury at his New York hush money trial.

Scott was interviewed by anchor Abby Phillip in the wake of the verdict, which saw the 45th president become the first in American history to be convicted of a crime after the jury unanimously agreed that he had falsified business records to hide a $130,000 payout to the adult film star Stormy Daniels in October 2016 to ensure her silence over an alleged sexual encounter, which might have jeopardised his election prospects had it become public knowledge.

Phillip asked Scott: “When former president Trump says that if he is elected president, he would appoint a special prosecutor to ‘go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the entire Biden crime family,’ are you saying that that is not something that you would support?”

The senator answered: “I’m simply saying that President Trump has said it himself: The best revenge is success.”

“Actually, senator, I have to correct you on that…” Phillip countered.

“No, you can’t correct me on this, Abby,” Scott blustered.

“I’m looking at the notes right here,” she persisted. “He has explicitly said that they ...”

“I was actually in his presence when he said it himself,” Scott retorted.

He continued: “This is why the ratings on CNN are so low. The bottom line is simply this. Without question, President Trump has looked me in my eyes in a room full of other folks and said, ‘You know what? The best revenge is success.’ Let’s not make this about just Donald Trump.”

The broadcaster continued: “Senator, he may have said it to you in a private room, but he has said it to thousands of his supporters that he plans to go after his political enemies.

“I don’t understand how you can deny that he has said that publicly. It’s in the public record.”

Scott responded: “I don’t know how you will not take my own word for what I heard with my own ears.”

Abby Phillip and South Carolina senator Tim Scott spar over Donald Trump on CNN on Thursday 30 May 2024 (CNN/X)
Abby Phillip and South Carolina senator Tim Scott spar over Donald Trump on CNN on Thursday 30 May 2024 (CNN/X)

Trump will now be sentenced on Thursday 11 July, four days before the Republican National Convention takes place in Milwaukee at which he will, presumably, still be invited to formally accept the party’s nomination to be its 2024 presidential candidate.

Before then, he is expected to finally name a running mate, with Scott, who briefly challenged him for the GOP nomination, expected to be in contention, having become a loud and enthusiastic champion of his former rival since suspending his own campaign.

Other contenders to be Trump’s prospective veep include New York representative Elise Stefanik, Ohio senator JD Vance and Florida senator Marco Rubio, with South Dakota governor Kristi Noem and Florida congressman Byron Donalds considered outside bets.

The presumptive GOP nominee has often praised Scott since he stepped aside by saying he has proven a better advocate for his campaign than he ever was for his own.