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Sen. Tim Scott: Trump "was very receptive to listening"

Scott, the Senate's only black Republican, had been critical of the president's response to white nationalist demonstrations

WASHINGTON -- President Trump met with the Senate's only black Republican on Wednesday, South Carolina's Tim Scott. After the meeting, Scott spoke exclusively with CBS News chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes.

"I went in there not expecting to change the president's mind," Scott said, but he was surprised by the reception he got in the Oval Office.

After all, he came down hard on the president just last month, after Mr. Trump appeared to defend Nazi and Ku Klux Klan marchers in Charlottesville.

Sen. Tim Scott

CBS News

"You have some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people," Mr. Trump had said.

"My thought was 'ouch'! And then think about the scene of torches and the Klan," Scott said Wednesday.

"Did you get the sense that he felt bad about what he had said?" Cordes asked.

"He's obviously reflected on what he's said, on his intentions and the perceptions of those comments," Scott said. "He certainly was very clear that the perception that he received on his comments was not exactly what he intended with those comments."

Scott has always been open about the pain of discrimination. In one speech on the Senate floor, he described how he had been stopped by law enforcement seven times over one year.

He said he tried to impart that feeling to Mr. Trump on Wednesday.

"He asked some questions about some other incidences that found African American men in compromising positions of no fault of their own," Scott said.

"Did you feel like you changed the president's mindset?" Cordes asked.

"The president was very receptive to listening. That is a key to understanding," he said.

Despite what Scott says, the president has never expressed remorse for his comments. Congress even felt the need to pass resolution asking the president to condemn hate groups, which the White House says Mr. Trump will sign.

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