The sole Black Republican in the US Senate began by denying racial inequality then spoke of the discrimination he had faced

It is Donald Trump, not Democrats, who deserves credit for wresting the coronavirus pandemic under control, Tim Scott argued on Wednesday night as the Republican senator gave his party’s official response to Joe Biden’s first address to Congress.

Scott, a South Carolinian seen as a rising star in the Republican party, was handpicked by GOP leaders to deliver a rebuttal to Biden’s optimistic message, and duly did so, opening with a solidly Republican criticism of “socialist dreams” before taking aim at the president over some public schools having failed to reopen – a decision which is taken at state-level, frequently by local districts, rather than by the federal government.

Related: Progressive Democrats praise Biden on Covid but call for bolder action

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