In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, April 25, Sen. Lindsey Graham flat-out denied the existence of systemic racism, proclaiming that “America’s not a racist country” and that these kinds of evils don’t exist in the United States.
Devan Cole of CNN reported that Graham cited the elections of former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris as proof of why systemic racism doesn’t exist within the U.S.
“Our systems are not racist,” he said in the interview. “America’s not a racist country [but] within every society you have bad actors.”
Cole reported that “the comments from the South Carolina Republican come several days after a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on all charges in the death of George Floyd, a Black man whose killing last year sparked a racial reckoning in the US and abroad and led to calls for police reform as more Black Americans die during encounters with law enforcement officers.”
Reflecting on those events, Graham said, “The Chauvin trial was a just result. What’s happening in Ohio, where the police officer had to use deadly force to prevent a young girl from being stabbed to death, is a different situation in my view. So, this attack on police and policing — reform the police, yes, call them all racist, no.”
He then added, “America is a work in progress.”
Graham is not the only high-power conservative lawmaker to make these sorts of blatantly false claims following the death of George Floyd.
Back in June of 2020, Cole reported on a series of similar statements from D.C. officials.
“I think there’s racism in the United States still, but I don’t think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist. I understand the distrust, however, of the African American community given the history in this country,” said then-Attorney General William Barr in an interview with CBS.
In another interview, then-Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told ABC, “Painting law enforcement with a broad brush of systemic racism is really a disservice to the men and women who put on the badge, the uniform every day, risk their lives every day to protect the American people.”
More recently, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin came under fire in March 2021 for saying that he did not fear for his life during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 but would have if the attackers had been Black.
He said the January rioters were largely “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement.” He then added that “had the tables been turned and President Donald Trump won the election and those were thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, he would have been concerned.”
Once his comments went public, he then backtracked, claiming they weren’t intended to be offensive.
There was “nothing racial about my comments,” he told the press. “Nothing whatsoever.”