Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday reacted to Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s response to President Biden’s Wednesday address before Congress.
Scott reflected on the idea of a unified nation amid party disagreements and racism in America in his speech, saying that while he gets “called ‘Uncle Tom’ and the N-word — by ‘progressives'” — he believes “America is not a racist country.”
Harris agreed with Scott in a Wednesday interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in response to a question about the senator’s follow-up remarks.
“I don’t think America is a racist country, but we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today,” the vice president said.
She added that she applauds the president “for always having the ability and the courage … to speak the truth about [racism in America].”
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris listens while meeting virtually with community leaders on Covid-19 public education efforts in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (Photographer: Leigh Vogel/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“One of the greatest threats to our national security is domestic terrorism manifested by white supremacists, and so these are issues we must confront,” she said. “It does not help to heal our country — to unify us as a people — to ignore the realities of that, and I think the president has been outstanding and a real national leader on the issue of saying let’s confront the realities…knowing we all have so much more in common than what separates us.
Harris added that she and Biden want to “unify the country” but not without “speaking truth and requiring accountability as appropriate.”
Scott said during his speech that he thinks it is “backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination” and “wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
“Believe me, I know our healing is not finished,” he said.
Their comments come as the U.S. faces what some pundits have dubbed a “racial reckoning” after George Floyd’s murder and other instances of police brutality against Black Americans.
Scott noted during his speech that Democrats last year blocked his police reform bill after the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“My friends across the aisle seemed to want the issue more than they wanted a solution,” the senator said. “But I’m still working. I’m still hopeful. When America comes together, we’ve made tremendous progress. But powerful forces want to pull us apart.”