Vice President Kamala Harris said in an exclusive interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" that she did not think the United States was a "racist country" but that it was important to "speak the truth" about the role racism has played in the nation's history.
Harris, the first Black vice president, was responding to GOP Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who on Wednesday night delivered the Republican response to President Joe Biden's address to a joint session of Congress.
Scott, the only Black Republican senator, said "America is not a racist country" and took issue with what he called fighting "discrimination with different types of discrimination" and trying "to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present."
"No, I don't think America is a racist country," she said Thursday morning. "But we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today."
Harris said that "we want to unify the country, but not without speaking truth and requiring accountability, as appropriate."
"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," she said.
The vice president praised Biden for calling white supremacy terrorism in his speech and noting U.S. intelligence agencies have determined it to be "the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today."