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Kamala Harris says US not ‘a racist country,’ warns of white supremacist threat

Vice President Kamala Harris agreed with Sen. Tim Scott Thursday that the US is not a racist country — but at the same time also claimed that domestic terrorism “manifested by white supremacists” is “one of the greatest threats to our national security.”

During an appearance Thursday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Harris was asked about Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s comments that “America is not a racist country” during the GOP rebuttal to President Biden’s address to a joint-session of Congress.

In his speech Wednesday night, Scott of South Carolina blasted the president for his earlier comments about “systemic racism” in response to the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. 

Kamala Harris said domestic terrorism "manifested by white supremacists" is a major threat to American national security.
Kamala Harris said domestic terrorism “manifested by white supremacists” is a major threat to American national security.
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

“Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country. It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination. And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present,” Scott said.

“Original sin is never the end of the story. Not in our souls and not for our nation. The real story is always redemption.”​

Sen. Tim Scott said "It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination."
Sen. Tim Scott said “It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination.”
Senate Television via AP

The veep conceded part of Scott’s point, but added that “we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism.”

“No, 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. And I applaud the president for always having the ability and the courage, frankly, to speak the truth,” Harris said.

“What we know from the intelligence community, one of the greatest threats to our national security is domestic terrorism manifested by white supremacists,” she continued. 

Joe Biden addresses a joint session of congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
Joe Biden addresses a joint session of congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
Chip Somodevilla/CNP/startraksph

She did not specify exactly how the administration would confront the issue, but said doing so would help unify the country.

“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,” she said.

“Let’s confront the realities, and let’s deal with it, knowing we all have so much more in common than what separates us. And the idea is that we want to unify the country, but not without speaking truth and requiring accountability as appropriate,” Harris said. 

Sen. Tim Scott claimed that America is not a racist country.
Sen. Tim Scott claimed that America is not a racist country.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool, File

The president brought up white supremacy during his address to Congress as he talked about threats to the homeland and how international terror groups have spread around the world into Yemen, Syria, Somalia and the Middle East. ​

“And we won’t ignore what our intelligence agencies have determined to be the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today: White supremacy is terrorism. We’re not going to ignore that either​,” Biden said. ​


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