Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., announced Sunday that he would no longer campaign for the 2024 Republican nomination for president of the United States. Scott, one of the most prominent politicians running for the GOP nomination, announced his suspension after months of a campaign that has drawn ridicule from Democrats and online critics while failing to excite the Republican base.

Scott announced that he was ending his presidential campaign during a Sunday appearance on Fox News. 

“I love America more today than I did on May 22,” Scott told host Trey Gowdy. “But when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign.” 

Gowdy appeared surprised by the announcement and questioned Scott about it during the appearance. Referencing Romans 8:28, Scott reiterated, “I think the message is clear for me right now” that he shouldn’t continue his presidential bid.

The announcement also surprised Scott’s campaign staff, many of whom reportedly learned of the decision through Scott’s Fox News interview. Scott’s campaign had previously signaled that it would make a significant push in Iowa ahead of that state’s January caucus, the first Republican primary event of the election cycle. Scott reportedly held a call with campaign staffers immediately after the Fox News interview, admitting that his announcement “may have caught you by surprise” while explaining to his staff that he “tried to be as strategic as possible dealing with this.”

Although Scott had long been seen as a potential presidential candidate, he entered the race relatively late, officially announcing his run in May, but his campaign failed to gain momentum. 

Among GOP voters, former President Donald Trump continues to hold a significant lead over Scott and other GOP hopefuls, and Scott was hard-pressed to explain how his views or policies would differ from Trump’s. In addition, Scott could not differentiate himself from the other Republicans in the race. He needed to position himself as a more moderate Trump alternative, as candidates like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or former South Carolina Gov. and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have done. Or Scott should have presented himself as a fiery representative of the far right like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Meanwhile, many Democrats, particularly Black Democrats, mocked and chastised Scott for supporting Republican talking points and ignoring his party’s regressive policies and tolerance of racism, as highlighted by Scott’s contentious appearance on The View in June.

Scott also drew mockery for his personal life; the senator’s move to introduce his girlfriend publicly at the most recent Republican presidential debate on Wednesday was heavily mocked online as a political stunt.

Although South Carolina remains critical for both parties’ road to the White House, its junior senator will now sit out this presidential race.