Vice President Joe Biden decried “institutional racism” in America, blaming citizens, not his widely criticized 1994 crime bill for hurting black communities.
Biden answered critics of his bill, saying he was “not at all” ashamed of helping draft the bill that increased incarceration rates of African-Americans by increasing prison sentences.
“We talk about this mostly in terms of Black Lives Matter,” Biden said during an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood. “Black lives really do matter, but the problem is institutional racism in America. That’s the overarching problem that still exists. And we should be talking about it, and looking at the legacy of racism in housing and in jobs and so on.”
Biden’s tone is remarkably different than Bill Clinton’s, who has since expressed regret for signing the bill.
“I signed a bill that made the problem worse. And I want to admit it,” Clinton said during a speech at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People meeting in July.
Hillary Clinton has also spoken against her previous support of the bill.
“I’m sorry for the consequences that were unintended and that have had a very unfortunate impact on people’s lives,” Hillary Clinton said last week during the CNN Democratic primary debate in New York.
But Biden argued that it was largely a successful bill.
“[B]y and large, what it really did: It restored American cities,” he said.
He argued that putting more police officers on the street was a good thing, but boasted that police organizations opposed the bill.
“The reason why the cops originally opposed my 100,000 cops, this community policing piece, is because it’s high intensive and it means they’ve got to get out of their cars,” he said.