The White House on Friday defended U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield for saying that White supremacy was “weaved into” the founding documents of the U.S.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of the ambassador’s comments, “There’s no question that there has been a history of institutional racism in this country, and that doesn’t require the U.N. ambassador to confirm that.”
Ms. Psaki said President Biden doesn’t plan to remove the ambassador over her comments.
“He is proud to have her in that role,” Ms. Psaki said at a press briefing. “She is not only qualified, he [Mr. Biden] believes she is exactly the right person in that role at this moment in time.”
Ms. Thomas-Greenfield told the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network on Wednesday that “I have seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved White supremacy into our founding documents and principles.”
“My great-grandmother Mary Thomas, born in 1865, was the child of a slave,” she said. “I grew up in the segregated South. I was bussed to a segregated school. On weekends, the Klan burned crosses on lawns in our neighborhood.”
She said White supremacy “led to the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many other Black Americans.”
The ambassador said White supremacy is also to blame for a spike in hate crimes “over the past three years” against Hispanics, Muslim Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish Americans and immigrants.
“That’s why the Biden-Harris administration has made racial equity a top priority across the entire government,” she said.
A journalist challenged Ms. Psaki on whether the ambassador’s comments parroted criticism by Chinese officials, who claimed at a recent summit that Blacks are being “slaughtered” in the U.S.
Ms. Psaki replied, “I think most people recognize the history of systemic racism in our country, and she was speaking to that.”
She dismissed the suggestion that Ms. Thomas-Greenfield should be removed from her post by saying, “Is the president going to remove an African-American woman with decades of experience in the Foreign Service who is widely respected around the world from her position as ambassador to the U.N.? He is not.”