Biden: ‘I don’t think the American people are racist’
"But I think after 400 years African Americans have been left in a position where they're so far behind…," Biden remarked.
During an interview with NBC’s TODAY, which aired a clip on Thursday night’s NBC Nightly News, and in-full during the Friday morning broadcast, President Joe Biden addressed his belief that the United States is not racist.
Sen. Tim Scott declared the country is not racist during the Republican rebuttal to the first joint address to Congress. Scott did, however, say he’d “experienced the pain of discrimination” while looking at the camera. “I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason and to be followed around a store while I’m shopping.”
His comments received pushback on social media, and now, President Biden has offered his own opinion as the subject remains a digital debate.
“No, I don’t think the American people are racist,” Biden said during his interview with TODAY‘s Craig Melvin. “But I think after 400 years African Americans have been left in a position where they’re so far behind the eight ball in terms of education, health, in terms of opportunity.”
He continued, “I don’t think people are going to say, ‘I don’t want any Black person around me or living next to me,” I think it’s that what’s happened is there used to be laws that said a Black person couldn’t live in that neighborhood. I don’t think America’s racist, but I think the overhang from all of the Jim Crow (laws), and before that slavery, have had a cost, and we have to deal with it.”
During the interview, which marked Biden’s first 100 days in office, POTUS also discussed the FBI executing a search warrant on Rudy Giuliani, and opening schools as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
“Based on science and the CDC, they should probably all be open,” Biden said. “There’s not overwhelming evidence that there’s much of a transmission among these young people.”
Vice President Kamala Harris also weighed in on the matter. Harris appeared on Good Morning America Thursday, the day after the joint address of Congress, and was asked by host George Stephanopoulos about the comments made by Sen. Tim Scott.
“I believe that we need to come up, well first of all, no I don’t think America is a racist country,” Harris said. “But we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country, and it’s existence today.”
Harris continued by praising Biden for “always having the ability and the courage, frankly, to speak the truth about it. He spoke what we know from the intelligence community, one of the greatest threats to our national security is domestic terrorism manifested by white supremacists.”
Meghan McCain, co-host of The View, offered support for Scott after widespread critique of his original comments. The talk show host said she was “disgusted” by those who called the South Carolina Senator an “Uncle Tom.”
McCain added, “I’m disgusted by the response to him. Hit him on policy if you have policy problems with him, but the way he is being talked about, the way he’s being disrespected, don’t talk to me about micro-aggressions with race in this country.
“Don’t talk to me about the problems we have in this country with racism when it’s OK to speak and treat a Black man this way who happens to be the most famous Republican Black senator in the country.”
This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Stephanie Guerilus.
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