WaPo fact-checks whether GOP Sen. Tim Scott actually went from 'cotton to Congress' — gets rightfully torched by critics


The Washington Post on Friday decided to publish an extensive probe of Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s history to fact-check if the South Carolina lawmaker’s family actually went from “cotton to Congress,” prompting critics harsh criticism from commentators on the left and right.

What are the details?

“Tim Scott often talks about his grandfather and cotton. There’s more to that tale,” wrote Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler in the Friday morning hit piece on Scott, who was recently tapped to deliver the Republican Party’s response to President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress next Wednesday.

Scott often touts his family’s journey from cotton to Congress in one lifetime as proof of the opportunity America affords to enterprising individuals who work hard to get ahead, regardless of their skin color. But that message runs counter to modern progressive ideology, which teaches that America is inherently racist and restrictive to minority classes.

With that in mind, the Post set out to investigate the authenticity of Scott’s claim, digging through the annals of history to decipher whether his grandfather, Artis Ware, was in fact forced out of elementary school to help on the farm and pick cotton.

In the exhaustive 1,800-word article, Kessler enlists the help of historians and draws from numerous census and property records to ultimately suggest on admittedly flimsy data that Scott, while speaking truthfully, may not be providing the entire context of his family’s situation.

“Scott’s “cotton to Congress” line is missing some nuance, but we are not going to rate his statements,” Kessler declared, opting not to award Scott any Pinocchios.

“Scott tells a tidy story packaged for political consumption, but a close look shows how some of his family’s early and improbable success gets flattened and written out of his biography,” he continued. “Against heavy odds, Scott’s ancestors amassed relatively large areas of farmland, a mark of distinction in the Black community at the time. Scott, moreover, does not mention that his grandfather worked on his father’s farm — a farm that was expanded through land acquisitions even during the Great Depression, when many other Black farmers were