Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) plans to endorse former president Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination at an event Friday night in New Hampshire, according to people familiar with the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share an announcement that has not been made public.
The decision by Scott, who suspended his presidential bid in November, comes as Nikki Haley, a fellow South Carolina Republican, is mounting a strong challenge to Trump in New Hampshire’s first-in-the nation primary after a third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.
Scott’s endorsement of Trump is certain to fuel speculation about a vice-presidential slot on Trump’s ticket. After Scott left the race, Haley and Trump courted Scott for his endorsement, Axios reported.
Scott ended his presidential bid after struggling to gain ground in public polling with an uplifting message that stood out from others in the field, including Trump. Scott’s plans to endorse Trump were first reported by the New York Times.
Scott had put his Christian faith and upbeat message at the center of his campaign, striking a notable contrast to Trump, whose has increasingly focused on revenge, echoing dictators, and raising the specter of “bedlam” and violence.
Haley and Scott have long known one another. In December 2012, Haley, then South Carolina’s governor, appointed Scott, then a member of Congress, to finish the senate term of Jim DeMint, who left to head up the conservative Heritage Foundation.
“I am strongly convinced that the entire state understands that this is the right U.S. senator for our state and our country,” Haley said at the time.
But as the 2024 Republican primary took shape, Republicans in South Carolina girded themselves for their two home state lawmakers to eventually clash. By the time the candidates debated in Simi Valley, Calif., in September, they did.
“Bring it, Tim,” Haley said after Scott threatened to attack her record. After Scott said Haley sought to raise the gas tax in South Carolina, Haley took a dig at Scott and the U.S. Senate being ineffective. “Twelve years, where have you been? Where have you been, Tim?”