Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday said systemic racism doesn’t exist in the United States, pointing to the elections of former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris to back up his claim.
During Graham’s appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace played a clip of President Joe Biden stating Tuesday that the country needs to confront systemic racism “head on” after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd.
“Is there systemic racism in this country in policing and in other institutions?” Wallace asked Graham.
“No, not in my opinion,” Graham said. “We just elected a two-term African American president. The vice president is of African-American-Indian descent. So our systems are not racist. America is not a racist country. Within every society, you have bad actors.”
Graham, who helped perpetuate President Donald Trump’s “big lie” that Biden and Harris stole the election, instead bashed Biden for stating that systemic racism is a problem in the United States, a country built by enslaved people.
“This attack on police and policing ― reform the police, yes. Call them all racist, no,” Graham said. “America is a work in progress but [sic] best place on the planet. And Joe Biden spends a lot of time running the place down. I wish you would stop it.”
Lindsey Graham says systemic racism isn't an issue in America because Barack Obama and Kamala Harris were elected pic.twitter.com/PqRdoeWmHW
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 25, 2021
The elections of Obama and Harris ― the country’s first Black president and first Black vice president, respectively ― do not negate the racism entrenched in the country’s institutions and laws, which is exemplified in myriad ways, including the disproportionate rate at which police kill Black men; the income disparity between Black families and white families; and the high number of people of color killed by COVID-19.
In a subsequent interview on Sunday, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, pushed back on Graham’s claim.
“My response is, at some point in our country’s history, we have got to figure out a way to talk about race where we can talk about it objectively and people don’t feel individual guilt,” Bass said.
“You can look at each of our institutions,” she added. “Why is there such massive inequality when it comes to education, when it comes to health care? Why does that exist? And so we have to figure out a way to talk about it. Right now, to say it doesn’t exist does not help anyone.”
Watch Graham’s full interview below: