Washington (AFP) - Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said Sunday that President Donald Trump is living in a "different reality" when he denies there is systemic racism in America.
"The reality of America today is what we have seen over generations and, frankly, since our inception, which is we do have two systems of justice in America," Harris told CNN.
"I think that Donald Trump and Bill Barr are spending full time in a different reality," said Harris, the first woman of color on a major US White House ticket -- taking aim at the president and his attorney general.
Joe Biden's running mate spoke two days after the White House disclosed that Trump had ordered federal agencies to stop funding anti-racism training sessions for employees, saying they amount to "divisive, un-American propaganda" that suggests the country is "inherently racist."
And last week Barr dismissed the idea that there is, effectively, one justice system for whites in the United States and another for blacks.
"I think we have to be a little careful about throwing the idea of racism around," Barr said. "I don't think it is as common as people suggest."
Trump is working feverishly to appeal to his largely white, blue-collar base with a tough law-and-order mantra while fighting an uphill battle for re-election amid a pandemic, a struggling economy and a fraught national reckoning over racial injustice in policing and other walks of life.
Protests in major US cities erupted after the death of African American George Floyd in May at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, and flared up again last month after another black man, Jacob Blake, was shot in the back repeatedly by a white policeman in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Trump has blasted such demonstrators as violent anarchists.
Harris insisted that peaceful protest is an American right and that racism is indeed embedded in the country.
"I don't think that most reasonable people who are paying attention to the facts would dispute that there are racial disparities and a system that has engaged in racism in terms of how the laws have been enforced," said Harris.
She blasted Trump as having bungled the nation's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 190,000 people in America, and for not doing enough to help millions of people left jobless or otherwise suffering as a result of the global health crisis.
"There is no question that Donald Trump has been an abject failure and incompetent when it comes to addressing the severe job loss that has happened as a result of the pandemic, because he has failed to address the pandemic itself," she said.