In his first public response to Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina’s remarks, President Biden pressed his call for the United States to fight “systemic racism” through policy initiatives.
On Wednesday night, Scott delivered the Republican response to Biden’s first speech to Congress. Scott claimed in his speech that liberals have dismissed America’s success in combating racism and have tried to stifle discussion on key issues.
Scott said, “America is not a racist country,” “It’s backward to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination.”
Biden was asked to respond to Scott’s comments and whether he thought America was racist in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, a clip of which aired Thursday evening on NBC Nightly News.
“No, I don’t believe the American people are racist,” Biden said, “but I believe that after 400 years, African-Americans have been left in a position where they are so far behind the eight-ball in terms of education, health, and opportunity.”
“I think the overhang from all of the Jim Crow and before that, slavery, has had a cost, and we have to deal with it,” Biden continued.
During his speech to Congress, Biden said that his “American Jobs Plan” and “American Families Plan” which are two components of his $4 trillion infrastructure and spending program, will give the nation a “real chance to root out systemic racism that plagues American life.” The bills would face a tough path to passage in the Senate, where Democrats have a razor-thin majority.
Biden also urged Congress to pass a police reform bill by the end of May, in time for the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.