Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) would have been better suited for Fox News’ UFO question than former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) was in last night’s first Republican presidential primary debate of Election 2024.
“I get the UFO question?” Christie complained from the stage last night. “I think it's horrible that just [because] I’m from New Jersey, you asked me about unidentified flying objects and Martians.”
While Christie was dismissive of any UFO talk, Scott’s senatorially aware that it’s an issue being taken seriously by many at the Capitol these days. So it seems to be, at the very least, on his radar, including that he’s aware of UFO whistleblower David Grusch.
Problem is, Scott doesn’t do hallway interviews in the US Capitol anymore, though we don’t know what ‘no’ means. When Congress was in session in July, on two separate occasions, we asked the GOP presidential aspirant from South Carolina about UFO whistleblower David Grusch.
In the first, briefest of non-interviews—really a game of mental chess—Scott deflected my question with southern charm.
“How are you doing today?” Scott replied while heading into the Capitol to vote Wednesday, July 19.
Below find the raw audio and a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s interview with Sen. Tim Scott on 7-19-2023, slightly edited for clarity.
RAW AUDIO — Interview I (7-19-2023)
Sen. Tim Scott at Senate carriage entrance to Capitol
Matt Laslo: “Have you looked into this UAP/UFO whistleblower David Grusch?”
Tim Scott: “How are you doing today?”
ML: “I’ve got my pulse, so that’s half the battle.”
TS: “There you go…”
ML: “Have a good one, sir.”
Just after former US intelligence official David Grusch finished testifying in the House on Wednesday, July 26, I ran into Sen. Scott and got more than a warm greeting.
Again, Scott has a rule of not doing impromptu interviews in the Capitol, but, as a southern gentleman and genuine nice guy, he’s conflicted cause he likes chatting with some of us journos.
After the Grusch hearing broke in the House Oversight Committee on the 26th, I rushed back to the Senate to cover the 3rd and last all-Senators AI briefing (my WIRED feature from it is: The Ghost of Privacy Past Haunts the Senate’s AI Future).
In the basement of the Senate, Scott and an aide (one who seems interested in the topic) were waiting for a tram. I hustled over, instantly flipping my mic on as my 6’4” strides casually quickened, arriving just in time to hop their tram.
Scott’s loss is Ask a Pol’s gain!
After the doors bang closed, I did what I do and just chatted Scott up. As always, notebook in hand, while also holding—not hiding—my mini mic (Marantz PMD 620—formerly NPR issued but discontinued a few years back, so I bought five and swap parts. Love this lil one).
Scott’s a relative newcomer to the rough-to-ridiculous world of GOP presidential political.
That’s likely an asset, but, I’ve joked with Scott, as the primary ratchets up, he’s gonna come crawling back to the congressional press corps. Just as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) quickly reversed her zipped-lips rule once she hit the trail in 2020, Scott will soon be all but begging us DC-based scribes for press.
So, while—for now—Scott still doesn’t do hallway interviews in the Capitol, it seems he does an occasional tram interview.
At least he does with our Ask a Pol fam.
Below find the raw audio and a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s exclusive interview with Sen. Tim Scott on 7-26-2023, slightly edited for clarity.
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RAW AUDIO — Interview II (7-26-2023)
Sen. Tim Scott, aide & Laslo riding tram from Capitol to Senate Office Buildings
Matt Laslo: “You catch any of that David Grusch hearing?”
Tim Scott: “I did not.”
The two of us and one of the senator’s aides hop the underground tram connecting the US Capitol to Senate Office Buildings.
ML: “It’s interesting. That David Grusch guy, have you heard about him?”
TS: “I have not.”
ML: “The UAP/UFO whistleblower.”
TS: “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.”
ML: “They actually had him testify in the House today, but he’s like, ‘I can’t answer that, has to be in a SCIF.’ ‘Can’t answer that, has to be in the SCIF.’”
TS: “There appears to be interest.” [We’re not 100% on this; ping us if you make it out clearly!]
Aide: “Apparently the line was all the way down the hallway and around back.”
ML: “I wish I could be a fly on the wall in that SCIF, but then I’m like: Are flies even allowed in the SCIF? Could be little drone flies, right?”
TS: “I’ve seen ‘em on TV.”
ML: “I know. What’s reality any more.”
TS: “Whatever it was, it’s not anymore.”
ML: “You gonna be busy in August?”
ML: “You moving to Iowa?”
TS: “There a lot.”
ML: “So Kamala Harris told me in 2020—no, I overheard her telling [Sen. Mazie] Hirono: ‘I’m fucking moving to Iowa.’”
ML: “And it became T-shirts.”
ML: “You going to that AI briefing?”
ML: “I’m on it. Have a good one.”
Matt Laslo’s a veteran congressional correspondent, adjunct new media professor and founder of Ask a Pol.
If you’ve never seen Laslo on the campaign trail, buckle up, fam.
Take typos up with Congress (and ping us).