McConnell says it's difficult to be a Black conservative: 'It takes a great deal of courage to deal with the peer pressure'

McConnell says it's difficult to be a Black conservative: 'It takes a great deal of courage to deal with the peer pressure'
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McConnell Scott
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, right, the sole Black Republican in the upper chamber, is accompanied by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, left, at a news conference on Capitol Hill on June 17, 2020. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
  • In a recent interview, Mitch McConnell said that it is "very hard" to be a Black conservative.

  • He added that Black conservatives face "peer pressure" when expressing their political beliefs.

  • McConnell praised his colleague, Tim Scott, who is thought of as a potential 2024 GOP candidate.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said during an interview that aired on Sunday that it is "very hard" to be a Black conservative Republican.

During a conversation on Kentucky Educational Television, McConnell mentioned that "at least three or four members" of the Senate GOP caucus would likely run for president in 2024. The conversation quickly turned to Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the sole Black Republican in the upper chamber, who is thought of as a possible contender.

McConnell praised Scott, describing him as a "star."

"He's a remarkable individual," McConnell said. "It's very, very hard to be a conservative Republican African American. We have a similar all-star in Kentucky in Attorney General Daniel Cameron. It takes a great deal of courage to deal with the peer pressure that is put on African American conservatives. I admire them both greatly."

Scott, who has taken a lead role in crafting a bipartisan police reform bill in the Senate, has seen his stock rise in Republican circles as a skilled communicator in party that has struggled to attract minorities in its ranks in large numbers.

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Last month, Scott gave the Republican response to President Joe Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress, recounting his adolescence growing up the South while also delivering a healthy blast of conservative criticism for Biden's legislative agenda.

He also detailed his personal experience of being a Black man in America and chastised liberals for racial insults he said he has endured over the years for choosing to be a Black conservative.

"I have experienced the pain of discrimination," he said in the response. "I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason, to be followed around a store while I'm shopping. I've also experienced a different kind of intolerance. I get called Uncle Tom and the n-word by progressives, by liberals."

Cameron, a McConnell political protégé who was first elected to office in 2017, becoming the first Black attorney general in Kentucky history, is widely considered to be a top candidate to succeed the longtime senator.

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