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Kamala Harris Says There's 'No Denying' Racism in America After Nikki Haley Claimed U.S. Has 'Never Been Racist'

"We cannot get to a place of progress by denying the existence of racism," Harris said on "The View" during an impassioned rebuttal to Haley's recent comments

<p>Anna Moneymaker/Getty; Scott Olson/Getty </p> Kamala Harris and Nikki Haley

Anna Moneymaker/Getty; Scott Olson/Getty

Kamala Harris and Nikki Haley

Kamala Harris is the latest to weigh in on Nikki Haley's controversial comments about racism, condemning her and other Republicans for ignoring "America's full history."

While appearing on The View Wednesday morning, Harris was asked about Haley's recent claim that the United States is not and has "never been" a racist country.

"The history of racism in America should never be the subject of a soundbite, or a question that is meant to elicit a one-sentence answer," Harris said before providing a lengthy rebuttal to Haley's remarks. "But there is no denying ... that racism has played a role in the history of our nation."

Related: Nikki Haley Suggests That Racism in America Is on the Decline, Asserts 'We've Never Been a Racist Country'

Haley — who also faced criticism in December for failing to acknowledge that slavery caused the Civil War — said during a Tuesday morning interview on Fox & Friends that she experienced racism growing up as a child of Indian immigrants, but that "today is a lot better than it was then."

Rejecting the idea that the Republican Party, and the country, are racist, Haley shifted the conversation to say that focusing on topics like race and gender divides people.

<p>Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty </p> Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who previously served as South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who previously served as South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

On The View, Harris took issue with Haley for downplaying systemic racism in the United States, saying, "I think we all would agree that while it is part of our past and that we see vestiges of it today, we should also be committed collectively to not letting it define the future of our country. But we cannot get to a place of progress by denying the existence of racism."

Harris then widened her focus to address a growing trend among conservatives of avoiding important conversations about race and minimizing ugly parts of U.S. history — including in Florida schools, where new academic standards require middle school curriculum to teach that enslaved people benefited from slavery.

Related: Kamala Harris Addresses Florida's New Mandate to Teach About Slavery's 'Benefit': 'An Attempt to Gaslight Us'

"We will not grow as a country to push that kind of approach and doctrine of misinformation," Harris said on The View. "It is not in our best interest to evolve on the issue of race in America to suggest that the Civil War was prompted by anything other than slavery in America. It is not in the best interest of our progress as a nation to ban books and deny our children the ability to benefit from the knowledge of America's full history so that we can move toward progress.

"So, it's unfortunate that there are some who would deny fact or overlook it when, in fact, moving toward progress requires that we speak truth," she concluded.

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