In his pursuit of the White House, Republican candidate Tim Scott is weighing in on current issues like the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike to try to prove to voters that he would make a good president.
However, Mr Scott may have stumbled over his understanding of the strike while speaking with potential voters in Iowa on Monday – claiming they were federal workers who should be fired for striking.
Calling on the likeness of Ronald Reagan, Mr Scott said if he were president he would be dealing with the strikers in a much different manner.
“I think Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike. He said, ‘you strike, you’re fired,’” Mr Scott said.
Mr Scott was referring to the 1981 Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) strike when Mr Reagan fired approximately 11,000 air traffic controllers.
“Simple concept to me,” Mr Scott said adding that he would “absolutely” implement that same policy “to the extent that we can use that once again.”
Seemingly, the South Carolina senator and 2024 candidate was trying to depict his hard-line approach to being pushed around by federal employees.
UAW members began a targeted strike last week to seek 40 per cent pay increases over four years, restoration of traditional pensions, elimination of compensation tiers, cost-of-living adjustments as well as a 32-hour work week.
However, Mr Scott may have confused some of the circumstances surrounding the 1981 strike with the ongoing UAW strike.
UAW members are not federal employees therefore the president cannot fire them.
Also, federal labour laws forbid employers from interfering or restraining union members from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment.
Mr Scott went on to criticise federal funding for union pensions, claiming President Joe Biden is “leased by unions” and overpromising union members while underdelivering.
“[The federal government] keep making these deals and as a result of the deal they promise too much, deliver too little and the taxpayers pick up the tab,” Mr Scott said referring to Mr Biden’s American Rescue Plan which allocated several billion dollars for certain pension plans
On Wednesday, Mr Scott clarified his statements regarding Mr Reagan and firing the UAW workers, at an event in New Hampshire.
“Obviously the president doesn’t fire folks in the private sector, but he can do in the public sector,” Mr Scott said. “I brought up the Ronald Reagan years because I do think that we need to have front and center the example of a president who stood strong and today’s president, he stands weak.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies