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Trump meets with Sen. Tim Scott in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C.. Photo: Shealah Craighead / White House

Sen. Tim Scott, the only African American Republican in the Senate, talked to President Trump today about "diversifying White House staff and the value that brings," said a source with direct knowledge of the meeting.

Scott told Trump that if he had more people on his team like Mary Elizabeth Taylor it'd be a good thing. Taylor, an African-American woman on the White House legislative affairs team, was also in the Oval Office meeting. Trump, the source added, "was very much on board with that. Liked that idea and agreed."

Why this matters: Trump has appointed very few African-Americans to White House roles. One of the only African-Americans in the White House, Omarosa Manigault, has reportedly been marginalized (though by all accounts this has nothing to do with her race and everything to do with her behavior.) Scott hopes Trump might become less racially tone deaf — and understand the historical weight of his words — if he has more daily exposure to minorities.

What happened in the room, per three sources with direct knowledge of the meeting:

  • Scott met with Trump for more than 30 minutes in the Oval Office and spent most of the meeting advising the president on "what do we do next" after his divisive comments about "both sides" being to blame for the racist carnage in Charlottesville.
  • Scott used his personal story to move Trump, who listened intently. Scott grew up poor in the South, raised by a single mom.
  • Trump didn't go so far as to admit he made a mistake with his Charlottesville response. Trump said, "I understand," after Scott shared his concerns about what he said about the white supremacists.
  • Scott has made clear in his interviews after the meeting that he believes the president took his concerns seriously, and that he has "obviously reflected" on his comments. He noted the fact that they stayed on that single topic — race relations — for the entire meeting and didn't divert into other subjects.

Other key points:

  • Scott pitched the president on his "Investing in Opportunity Act" — legislation that incentivizes investment in poor neighborhoods. The president told Scott he was interested in learning more about the bill and working with Scott to make it law.
  • Scott echoed the critical comments he made about the president after Charlottesville, explaining why he was troubled by them, and rooting them in the black experience in America — a history of slavery, grotesque violence and discrimination.
  • Joining Trump and Scott in the Oval were: Vice President Pence; Director of WH Legislative Affairs Marc Short; legislative affairs official Mary Elizabeth Taylor; press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders; and Scott's Chief of Staff Jennifer DeCasper.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.