Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina is suspending his presidential campaign, he announced in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.
“I love America more today than I did on May 22. But when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign,” he said.
The announcement Sunday night took many of Scott’s aides and donors by surprise. Two people close to his campaign said they were given advanced notice, even though it was becoming increasingly clear Scott was facing an uphill struggle to break through.
The super PAC supporting Scott pulled its slate of television ads in October, and, following last week’s third GOP presidential debate, decided not to make a new investment.
“Tim ran an optimistic, hopeful message — but that’s not where the Republican base is right now,” a Republican official who supported Scott told CNN.
Scott told Fox News’ Trey Gowdy that he will not back another Republican candidate, saying he believes “the best way for me to be helpful” is to withhold an endorsement in the primary.
Scott said he has no intention of accepting a vice presidential nomination, reaffirming a position he repeated frequently on the campaign trail.
“I ran for president to be president,” he said. “I think I was called to run. I was not called to win, but I certainly was called to run. … Being vice president has never been on my to-do list for this campaign, and it’s certainly not there now.”
Scott suggested he’s going to keep looking for “another opportunity” to launch a White House bid.
“I think the voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet, have been really clear that they’re telling me, ‘Not now, Tim.’ I don’t think they’re saying, Trey, ‘No,’ but I do think they’re saying, ‘Not now,’” Scott said. “And so I’m going to respect the voters … and keep working really hard and look forward to another opportunity.”
This story is breaking and will be updated.