White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked if President Joe Biden plans to acknowledge “his own role in systemic racism” at Wednesday’s press briefing. Psaki said Biden is committed to reforming the justice system and quickly moved on, adding “I think I’ve answered your question.”
Q My second question: President Biden, yesterday, responding to George – the George Flord [sic]– Floyd case verdict, said that George Floyd’s death, quote, ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism in the United States. But he is an architect of multiple federal laws in the 1980s and ’90s that disproportionately jailed Black people and contributed to what many people see as systemic racism. The activist Cornel West said that Biden is, quote, one of the core architects of mass incarceration, and that, quote, I think that Biden is going to have to take responsibility and to acknowledge the contribution he made to mass incarceration. To what extent does President Biden acknowledge his own role in systemic racism, and how does that inform his current policy positions? MS. PSAKI: Well, I would say that the President is – one of the President’s core objectives is addressing racial injustice in this country not just through his rhetoric, but through his actions. And what anyone should look to is his advocacy for passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, for nominating leaders to the Department of Justice to address long-outdated policies, and to ask his team – leadership team here in the White House to prioritize these issues in his presidency, which is current and today and not from 30 years ago. Q Does he believe it’s important to accept his own culpability in setting up a system – MS. PSAKI: I think I’ve answered your question.