South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said Wednesday during the Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s first address to Congress that several factors influenced his life when he was younger, including the manager of a Chick-fil-A restaurant who died when he was 19.
During his speech, Scott would credit his own success to his mother, his country for providing him with opportunity, and the manager of the North Charleston-located restaurant, John Moniz, who passed away suddenly from a heart attack in 1985.
“Growing up, I never dreamed I’d be standing here tonight,” the rising GOP star said during his rebuttal.
“When I was a kid, my parents divorced. My mother, my brother, and I moved in with my grandparents. Three of us, sharing one bedroom. I was disillusioned and angry, and I nearly failed out of school,” he added.
But fortunately for him, he said, he was “blessed” with “a praying momma” along with a “mentor, a Chick-fil-A operator named John Moniz,” as well as “a string of opportunities that are only possible here in America.”
Ken Farnaso, Scott’s press secretary, told Fox News after Scott’s speech that his boss “attributes a lot of who he is” to the late restaurant manager.
“John taught him biblical principles and conservative values, and over the course of [three to four] years, he transformed his way of thinking,” said Farnaso. “John’s life’s goal was to positively affect a million people. Tim’s life’s mission is to positively affect a billion people with the message of hope and opportunity.”
In 2016, Scott called Moniz “an interesting man” in an op-ed for the Charleston-based newspaper, The Post and Courier.
“He was a conservative, he was an entrepreneur,” the senator wrote. “…I remember I used to go down to the Chick-fil-A and get french fries all the time. One day, he asked why I always bought just the french fries and not the Chick-fil-A sandwich. I told him that the fries were cheaper.”
Scott went on to recount a time when Moniz brought him a Chick-fil-A sandwich at the Northwoods Mall theater where the future senator worked as a teen and began talking with him. That initial conversation led to many others over the years, as Moniz wove in “simple” life lessons that Scott would describe as “profound” as well.
“He taught me that if you want to receive, you have to first give,” wrote Scott, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2013 by then-GOP Gov. Nikki Haley before winning the seat outright the following year.
“Embedded in that conversation, I came to realize, was the concept that my mother was teaching me about individual responsibility. John was simply saying that enlightened self-interest requires you to give first, and then the receiving part takes care of itself,” he added.
Scott said Moniz also taught him self-value, noting that the difference between their paychecks at the time was “a couple of zeros.”
“He taught me how to be more valuable in my own eyes so that later I could be more valuable at work, which would add zeros to my paycheck,” Scott wrote.
“Years later as an entrepreneur and as a conservative, I see that the lessons [Moniz] was teaching me still ring true today. Perhaps more so,” he added. “… In my life, not only did John Moniz transform my thinking, but he changed my life.”
Despite Scott’s success story, he was nonetheless mocked and insulted following his speech Wednesday by left-wing commentators who often preach about inclusion and tolerance.
He was dubbed “Uncle Tim” on Twitter — a variant of the racial slur “Uncle Tom,” which is used to describe a black man who “acts white” and is a sell-out to his race, according to the Urban Dictionary.
Twitter allowed the term to trend for 12 hours before removing it.
“Well, I’ll just say that the response to my speech last night from the left was for me to mention that intolerance so often comes from the left with words like Uncle Tim and the N-word being used against me by the left. And last night what was trending in social media was Uncle Tim,’ he told Fox News on Thursday.
“It is stunning in 2021 that those who speak about ending discrimination want to end it by more discrimination,” he noted.