Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday morning pushed back against the way in which Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) had framed the challenge of addressing systemic racism in his rebuttal speech to President Joe Biden’s address to Congress the night before.
Harris, who is the first Black person to serve as vice president, told “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos that she agreed with Scott, who is also Black, that America is “not a racist country.”
“But we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today,” she added.
The vice president said that the intelligence community’s warnings that white supremacist violence has become one of the country’s biggest national security threats is an issue “that we must confront.”
“It doesn’t help to heal our country, to unify us as a people, to ignore the realities of that,” Harris said.
And so “the idea is that we want to unify the country, but not without speaking truth and requiring accountability as appropriate,” she told Stephanopoulos.
During his speech on Wednesday night, Scott claimed that “people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven’t made any progress at all, by doubling down on the divisions we’ve worked so hard to heal.”
“Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country,” he said. “It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination. And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”