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Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump's botched Charlottesville response was the low point of his presidency for some of his key aides. Now, he has a chance for a reset, at the same time that he's reveling in the adulation for his surprise deal with Democrats.

Trump meets one-on-one Wednesday with Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Republican senator who is African-American, who told Vice after Charlottesville that the president's "moral authority is compromised."

Why it matters: Scott grew up poor in the South, as the son of a single mom who toiled as a nursing assistant. He has been harshly critical of Trump on racial issues, and plans to expose the president to his own moving life story in forceful terms.

  • Scott, who endorsed Marco Rubio during the primaries, blasted Trump for his reticence in denouncing the KKK.
  • Scott lambasted Trump as late as mid-October for "oftentimes toxic" rhetoric. But he said he would vote for him anyway, because Hillary Clinton had also said "vicious" things.
  • Scott pilloried Trump on "Face the Nation" after the Charlottesville violence, saying the president needs to "sit down and become better acquainted — have a personal connection to the painful history of racism and bigotry of this country."
  • Scott was repulsed by Trump's blame of "both sides" for racial carnage, and for suggesting there were "very fine people" among white-nationalist chanters.

Scott sought the meeting before Charlottesville, sources tell Axios' Jonathan Swan:

  • The senator hopes that exposing Trump to new views — and a life story vastly different from Trump's privileged upbringing — will lead to a broader White House conversation on issues affecting minority communities, including historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), poverty, and the overall direction of the country on race.
  • But first, Scott plans to tell the president his own story in "very personal" terms, and underscore how seriously he took what Trump said, and didn't say, after Charlottesville.

Scott has a powerful testimony for Trump: The senator has spoken movingly about a conversation with his mom during high school about why a pair of Converse high tops was beyond their means. He has recalled how his family once took refuge in the home of a strong grandfather — and how he later drove that teary-eyed man to vote for Barack Obama.

And Scott gave a series of speeches on the Senate floor about police mistreatment of African Americans:

  • "[M]y brother, who became a Command Sergeant Major in the United States Army, ... was ... pulled over by a law-enforcement officer who wanted to know if he had stolen the car he was driving because it was a Volvo."
  • "I don't know many African-American men who don't have a very similar story to tell — no matter their profession, no matter their income, no matter their disposition in life."
  • And he told of a shocking encounter with a Capitol Police officer who said with "a little attitude" that he didn't recognize the senator: "The pin, I know. You, I don't."

Be smart: Aides say Trump is most likely to take in information if there's a personal story attached to it. The session with Scott provides exactly such an opportunity. The moment could be fleeting or consequential, depending on whether Trump realizes that, at 71, he has a lot of catching up to do.

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Go deeper

29 mins ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz at the defense table during jury selection at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty on all counts for carrying out the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three staff members.

Driving the news: Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday to 17 murder counts and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting.