Twitter blocks Tim Scott ‘Uncle Tim’ topic that trended for hours after Biden rebuttal
Twitter on Thursday morning blocked the “Uncle Tim” trending topic – the racial slur that flooded the platform Wednesday night after Republican Sen. Tim Scott delivered his rebuttal to President Biden’s address to Congress.
Scott, who is Black, declared the United States is not a racist country while saying he had encountered racism in his life. Some of it, he said, came from the left in the form of being called an “Uncle Tom,” a derogatory phrase for Blacks who are viewed as too deferential to Whites.
“I get called Uncle Tom, and the N-word by progressives, by liberals,” Scott said during his speech.
After his rebuttal, “Uncle Tim” appeared on Twitter’s trending topics as more and more tweets relayed the racially charged play on his name.
A Twitter spokesperson told Fox News Thursday morning that the company, is “blocking the phrase … from appearing in Trends.”
“This is in line with our policies on Trends,” the spokesperson told Fox News, noting that the company wants Trends “to promote healthy conversations on Twitter.”
“This means that at times, we may not allow or may temporarily prevent content from appearing in Trends until more context is available,” the spokesperson said. “This includes Trends that violate The Twitter Rules.”
Twitter explained to Fox News that Trends are “determined by an algorithm and, by default, are tailored for you based on who you follow, your interests, and your location.”
“This algorithm identifies topics that are popular now, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help you discover the hottest emerging topics of discussion on Twitter,” the spokesperson said.
When asked why it took so long to block a phrase that violated its policies, the company declined to expand on its statement.
Scott’s speech was well-received on the right, with some commentators saying he had improved his political standing in a notoriously difficult speech to give.
During the speech, Scott, R-S.C., took aim at race relations, corporate cancel culture and the politics of division.
“Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country,” Scott said.
“It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination, and it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
The only Black Republican senator, Scott has talked openly about his experience being targeted by police, including getting pulled over seven times in one year.
Now he’s leading the GOP effort to pass police reform legislation in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“I have experienced the pain of discrimination,” Scott said.
Scott called out Democrats for using the filibuster last year to block his police reform bill and then this year, when they are in power, claiming the filibuster needs to be abolished because it’s a Jim Crow relic.
“The same filibuster that the Democrats used to kill my police reform bill last year has not suddenly become a racist relic,” Scott said in defending the Senate 60-vote requirement to advance most legislation.
“Race is not a political weapon to settle every issue the way one side wants,” Scott added.
During his 15-minute rebuttal, Scott, a star in the Republican Party, sought to strike an optimistic tone about the progress of America, saying his grandfather in his 94 years “saw his family go from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.”
Scott, 55, has been a strong proponent of school choice to help children in underserved communities have a better chance for success. He said the coronavirus pandemic has revealed the “clearest case for school choice in our lifetimes,” as too many public schools are still closed and private and religious schools have reopened.
Scott authored the Opportunity Zones provisions in President Trump’s tax cut plan to attract new investments in distressed zip codes. He credited the GOP tax and jobs plans under Trump for establishing the “most inclusive economy in my lifetime” prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fox News’ David Rutz and Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.