The Plot Thickens Around GOP Candidate Tim Scott’s Alleged Girlfriend
“I can’t imagine dragging her onto the campaign trail unless I have the intention of marrying her,” he said of her absence, which Republicans are clocking.Politics
Republican donors have been chattering recently about their concerns that Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who’s running for president, is unmarried at age 57. Scott, an Evangelical Christian, has implied he lost his virginity sometime between the age of 30 and 46, and more recently said that he has a girlfriend. Now, we’re hearing that people are skeptical that Scott’s purported girlfriend exists.
A new story in the Washington Post says Scott’s romantic pursuits “aren’t a scandal so much as they are a mystery”—and a possible liability in the GOP primary where Evangelical voters in Iowa, who value marriage and children, have a lot of sway. (Plus, Scott is running against two preeminent Wife Guys: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vice President Mike Pence.) Reporter Ben Terris said there’s no evidence that Scott is gay, but he couldn’t pin down any evidence about women Scott claims to have dated, either. Nor could he confirm that Scott had been previously engaged, as Scott said on CNN in 2017.
Jennifer DeCasper, Scott’s close friend and campaign manager, told Terris late in 2022 that the Senator’s dating life was “nonexistent.” Then, on the campaign trail in May, Scott said he had a girlfriend. After that, Terris started digging around on the girlfriend and said that he “technically…can’t verify that she exists,” because the campaign declined to share her name or make her available for an interview. Six of Scott’s friends said they didn’t know anything about a girlfriend. DeCasper did, however, say that “she’s personally hung out with her at the zoo.”
Terris interviewed Scott a few weeks ago, and Scott again said he is seeing someone. But, the candidate said the budding relationship is still relatively new so he’s protecting her privacy in case it doesn’t work out. “I have been very protective of my family and my loved ones,” Scott said. “I signed up for this. If we make it, she will be signing up for it as well, but at least then she’ll know what she’s getting into. But until then, the only conversation I’m going to have about her in any form or fashion is right now.”
Scott said a church friend set them up and they have gotten dinner in Charleston, played pickeball, and used “a phone app to do a Bible study together.” He said, “I can’t imagine dragging her onto the campaign trail unless I have the intention of marrying her. I hope that happens, to be honest with you.”
And he has a theory about why other campaigns are talking about him being a bachelor: It’s a sneaky way “to say that, ‘That guy isn’t one of us,’” he said. “It’s like a different form of discrimination or bias,” he continued. “You can’t say I’m Black, because that would be terrible, so find something else that you can attack.” I can’t believe I’m giving someone with terrible policy positions—like a nationwide abortion ban—the benefit of the doubt but, honestly, that sounds pretty plausible.
It also sounds like Scott has some marriage-related trauma. He wrote in his memoir that his father, a Vietnam War veteran, had mental health issues and drinking problems that drove his mother and her two sons out of the house. Scott told Terris that he thinks he threw himself into work as a result of his parents’ separation. “It creates scar tissue,” he said. “One thing you can do when that happens is run away or run toward something else. And I ran toward purpose.”
Terris talked to some voters in Iowa—where Scott is polling in third place at 9%—who didn’t seem to mind much that Scott was single. A voter named Brian Heck said, “What matters to me is that he’s in favor of putting the family unit back together. I’d be more worried about him having a bunch of illegitimate kids than having no kids.”
I cannot conclude this post without pasting this hilarious paragraph in which Matt Schlapp, a Republican who’s being sued for allegedly groping a male campaign staffer, suggested to Terris that Scott is gay:
Scott is not gay, DeCasper told me, and nobody who knows him suggested otherwise. But the rumor mill is lazy, and the “joke” about the senator’s sexuality still gets repeated. Early last year, for example, Matt Schlapp, the head of the Conservative Political Action Conference, asked me whom I thought Trump might choose as his 2024 running mate. When I mentioned Scott, Schlapp replied: “You think he picks a gay vice president?” (Incidentally, Schlapp, who is married with five kids, was later accused of unwanted groping by a male staffer on Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign. He has denied the allegations.)
Projection much, Matt?