Ben Jealous Says Tim Scott Doesn't Believe in Civil Rights

The NAACP president says Scott's record can only get better.

Posted: 01/03/2013 09:51 AM EST

(From left: Ben Jealous and Tim Scott. Photos: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for NAACP, United States Congress)

NAACP president Ben Jealous is not impressed by Tim Scott, the South Carolina congressman who will make history today when he's sworn into the U.S. Senate. The Black Republican has earned consistent Fs on the civil rights organization's annual report card that rates lawmakers on their voting and civil rights records.

Scott does not believe in civil rights, Jealous said Wednesday during an appearance on CNN Newsroom.

“We have Republicans who believe in civil rights — unfortunately he is not one of them," he said.

It's unlikely that Scott, a Tea Party patriot who consistently downplays his race, will change his policies. Still, Jealous hopes he will take advantage of his time in the Senate to "live up to the party" of Frederick Douglass and Colin Powell and other Republicans, Black and white, who've fought against social injustice.

"When I look at him, I say quite frankly as one of my old coaches would say about me at a sport I wasn't so good at, he has nothing but potential," Jealous said. "There is nothing but room for him to improve."

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