Former Vice President Mike Pence dismissed systemic racism as a “left-wing myth” in a speech Thursday at a New Hampshire Republican event.
“America is not a racist country,” he announced to “raucous applause,” The New York Times reported.
Speaking to a group of a few hundred Republicans at the annual Hillsborough County Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, Pence criticized the teaching of “critical race theory” to American children. The concept, which is now being taught in some K-12 schools, asserts that race is a social construct that has been ― and continues to be ― exploited to oppress people of color.
“It is past time for America to discard the left-wing myth of systemic racism,” he said.
His remarks come just two days after President Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to commemorate the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.
“The events we speak of today took place 100 years ago. And yet I’m the first president in 100 years ever to come to Tulsa,” Biden said in a Tuesday speech. “We do ourselves no favors by pretending none of this ever happened or it doesn’t impact us today, because it does still impact us today.”
In his Thursday speech, Pence ― considered a potential candidate in the 2024 presidential race ― also repeatedly praised former President Donald Trump and lauded the achievements of their administration.
He did, however, acknowledge that he did not “see eye to eye” with his ex-box about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, though he stopped short of blaming Trump for the riot.
“Jan. 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” Pence said. “You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye about that day. But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.”