Holder: No Regrets for Being Polarizing, ‘Have to Be Prepared to Deal with the Truth’

On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “The Reid Report,” in part two of series, Attorney General Eric Holder showed no remorse for being a polarizing figure while in office when asked by host Joy Reid.

Reid was referring specifically to a February 2009 speech, in which Holder was upfront about the issue of race in America.

“No, you see, I think that people have to be prepared to deal with the truth, with the facts,” he said. “And not be defensive about that. If people look at the entirety of that speech, I talk about the fact that people have to be in a position to feel safe to express opinions. The other side has to be able to hear them in a way that, you know, they’re not necessarily being critical but to take it in a thoughtful way. It’s a painful process to go through. This is a nation, after all, that had to deal with slavery and then legalized segregation. We still have a lot we have to get through. We’re still suffering the impacts of, you know, a racial system was inconsistent with our founding documents. So, race is still a hard, hard thing for people to talk about and to deal with.”

Reid went on to ask Holder if perhaps he were a white attorney general serving under a white president if he might have taken fewer shots from Congress.

“Hard to say – I mean, you know, the attorney general seems to be of lately the person, whether you’re white, black, Republican, Democrat — who catches a lot of grief. So, there is — that’s just a part of the position. I can’t look into the hearts and minds of people who have been, perhaps, my harshest critics. I think a large part of the criticism is political in nature. Whether there is a racial component or not, you know, I don’t know. I’ve tried to, you know, work my way through that and focus on the work. What can I do as attorney general with the power I have as attorney general to make this country better is to deal with those racial issues I talked about in that speech back in 2009.

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