VP Harris Agrees with Sen. Tim Scott: US Is Not a 'Racist Country' President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of congress as Vice President Kamala Harris looks on in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol on April 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Jim Watson/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 29 April 2021 11:23 AM
Vice President Kamala Harris said Thursday that she agrees with Republican Sen. Tim Scott that the United States is not a "racist country," but she still thinks it's important to "speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today."
"These are issues that we must confront, and it doesn't — it does not help to heal our country to unify us as a people to ignore the realities of that," Harris, who is both the first Black and female vice president, said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "I think the president has been outstanding and a real national leader on the issue … We want to unify the country, but not without speaking truth and requiring accountability as appropriate."
Scott, the only Black Republican senator, in the party's rebuttal to President Joe Biden's address to Congress Wednesday, said that America is "not a racist country." He also spoke out against fighting "discrimination with different types of discrimination" and about "trying to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present."
Harris told ABC that "we want to unify the country, but not without speaking truth and requiring accountability, as appropriate," and praised President Joe Biden for referring to white supremacy during his speech as terrorism.
The presdient also pointed out that U.S. intelligence agencies have determined white supremacists pose "the most lethal threat to the homeland today."
Harris on Thursday also discussed the Biden administration's $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan, and said the administration is "very serious" in its hope that it can "reflect the bipartisan nature of the American people" with the proposals.
"We have been in many meetings in the Oval Office with Republicans and Democrats together, talking about all of these issues and inviting their feedback, inviting their ideas," Harris said. "We're very serious about that — and very sincere in our hope that we can reflect the bipartisan nature of the American people on these issues, and come together in a way that is about, again, investing in families, investing in job creation, investing in the competitiveness of our country, vis-a-vis the world."
Biden Wednesday, while discussing his infrastructure plan's call for expanding broadband internet access, said that he was asking Harris to "lead this effort," widely leading many media outlets to say he'd asked her to shepherd the entire proposal through Congress.
She clarified Thursday that Biden only wanted her to take a lead on broadband access, not his whole infrastructure plan.
Harris has also been tasked to lead the diplomatic effort to slow the flow of migrants from Central America. She said she's been working with several Cabinet secretaries, along with other world leaders, to help the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to address the reasons why people are leaving their countries to head to the United States.
“It's not a new issue but we are prepared to make the investment and to get in there for the long haul to do what is necessary to address the reasons people flee,” she said.