“I don’t believe there’s systemic racism in the U.S. I’m not going to go into a long riff on it,” Kudlow told reporters when asked if the disparity between the black unemployment rate and other groups was evidence of systemic racism.
Pressed again on whether he believes systemic racism against African Americans is a problem in the country, Kudlow rejected the premise.
“I will say it again, I do not,” he said. “I think the harm comes when you have some very bad apples on the law enforcement side. What was done to Mr. [George] Floyd was abysmal. Abysmal. But I believe everyone in this country agrees with that.”
Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, noted that black employment increased by 300,000 in the month of May, when the country added 2.5 million jobs total. He also cited the administration’s work on criminal justice reform, opportunity zones to encourage development in distressed communities and funding for historically black colleges and universities.
He added that he believes the administration will pursue policing reforms amid outcry following Floyd’s death but expressed support for President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcBath, Handel to face off in Georgia House rematch Trump thanks George P. Bush for his support: ‘Great honor’ Trump Jr.’s Mongolia hunting trip cost K in Secret Service protection MORE‘s overall message of “law and order.”
“Law and order is good for growth,” he said. “Law and order is good for families. Law and order is good for people of all colors. It’s a unifying message.”
Kudlow is the latest Trump administration official to dispute the existence of systemic racism in the U.S. in the aftermath of Floyd’s death. Floyd died in Minneapolis late last month after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Since then, demonstrations have persisted nationwide to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
Attorney General William BarrBill BarrRepublicans walk tightrope on police reform Barr contradicts Trump, says Secret Service called for him to be moved to bunker White House: ‘No regrets’ about handling of protesters in Lafayette Square MORE and national security adviser Robert O’Brien have both in the past two weeks denied that there is a problem with systemic bias in law enforcement in the country.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany would not say whether Trump believes there is systemic racism in law enforcement, only that the president believes there are individual cases of injustice.
Trump is expected to support some type of policing reform as Republicans and Democrats in Congress both pursue legislation to address the issue. However, he has yet to signal support for specific changes.
Asked last week what his plan is for addressing systemic racism, Trump suggested it would be to revive the economy that was decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“And, by the way, what’s happened to our country and what you now see … is the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African American community, for the Asian American, for the Hispanic American community, for women, for everything,” he said.