McConnell Privately Backed Tim Scott

by Robert Costa

Senate insiders tell National Review Online that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell privately advised Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina to tap Representative Tim Scott to fill Senator Jim DeMint’s seat. 

In a phone call on Thursday, December 13, McConnell reportedly told Haley that he knew she didn’t need his advice, but that he hoped she’d pick Scott, an African American and tea-party favorite.

“He thought it’d be a big morale boost for the conference and a powerful statement about the party nationally,” a source explains. “It was a strong pitch.”

Behind the scenes, DeMint and other conservatives were also pushing for Scott. McConnell didn’t want to pressure Haley or share his opinion with reporters, but he wanted to make sure she knew where he stood.