Please Stop the Weird Obsession With Tim Scott’s Love Life

There are many interesting and unique things about Sen. Tim Scott’s 2024 Republican presidential campaign. He’s a temperamental moderate with a very conservative record, a statesmanlike politician in a Republican Party where that’s increasingly out-of-fashion, and the only Black candidate who qualified for the first debate.

But rather than focus on any of that, some donors, voters, writers, and social media commentators have instead focused on what should be an irrelevant detail of Scott’s biography: the 57-year-old is unmarried.

This issue has attracted so much attention that the senator finally sat down with The Washington Post for an interview to specifically address the subject, and announce to the world that he does, in fact, have a girlfriend. Congrats, Tim.

It’s genuinely insane that this has become a thing at all, let alone to the point where other Republican candidates have reportedly been shopping opposition research to reporters that focuses on Scott’s lack of a partner.

This. Should. Not. Matter.

The argument that Scott’s unmarried status is somehow disqualifying goes something like this: Conservative values emphasize family and marriage. Scott has personally yet to marry, so he doesn’t embody conservative values and cannot serve as their champion as the GOP’s nominee.

There are a few problems with this perspective. One of those problems is Donald Trump.

The only thing that should matter is who can do the best job. And that may or may not be Tim Scott—but whether he has a wife or not is utterly immaterial.

The former two-time Republican nominee and current frontrunner is a thrice-married adulterer who has confessed to grabbing women “by the pussy” and was found civilly liable for sexually abusing a woman. His lack of “family values” does not seem to be an issue for Republican voters, donors, and conservative media—yet Scott’s much more minor deviations from conservative expectations are? Seriously?

If anything, Scott has shown exponentially more respect for the institution of marriage by not choosing to get hastily married just for the sake of it and then ending up divorced or cheating.

The senator has also fully embraced conservative values when it comes to social issues, on everything from abortion to school choice. If a candidate fully endorses the “family values” agenda, why does it matter if they have a family themselves or not? After all, Republicans accept that a candidate can support the troops even if they never personally served in the armed forces. How is this any different?

Regardless, it’s hard to see why it even matters.

The question of who ought to be president is ultimately about who we can trust with the nuclear codes and to steer the nation on everything from the economy to immigration to national security. When such profound matters of life and death are at stake, why does anyone get hung up on the small details of a candidate’s biography?

The only thing that should matter is who can do the best job. And that may or may not be Tim Scott—but whether he has a wife or not is utterly immaterial.

Let’s be real here—at least part of this backlash is rooted in good old fashioned homophobia, which is having something of a renaissance on the Right these days. Rumors regularly swirl around Washington about “confirmed bachelor” members of Congress, but, again, it doesn’t matter. By all accounts, Scott is simply a workaholic who has prioritized his career over starting a family. He isn’t a “confirmed bachelor.” He’s just a bachelor.

In another sense, though, this whole silly saga is something of a compliment to Scott.

Presidential campaigns and primaries are always ugly affairs, with candidates dumping time and energy into finding dirt on their rivals. Yet, after all this, the best they can come up with against Scott is that he’s not married? If anything, that suggests that the senator has a clean history and hasn’t done anything actually oppo-worthy—because they’re really reaching for the bottom of the barrel here.

In a time when it’s clear the Republican Party’s base remains enthralled by the toxic charm of Donald Trump, Scott’s candidacy is a throwback to the seriousness and credibility the GOP left behind in 2015. No wonder some people are stretching so hard to try to take him down.


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