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UN ambassador: America's ability to acknowledge its 'imperfections' is 'our strength'

UN ambassador: America's ability to acknowledge its 'imperfections' is 'our strength'
© Greg Nash

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-GreenfieldLinda Thomas-GreenfieldThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns Harris to tell UN members to prepare for next pandemic MORE, said on Sunday that the U.S. must discuss and acknowledge its "imperfections," calling the ability to do so "our strength."

Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," host Margaret Brennan made note of Thomas-Greenfield's recent remarks in which she linked America's "original sin" of slavery to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the discrimination against Muslim-Americans and Asian-Americans. Brennan questioned whether or not the U.S. was "deluding" itself into thinking it provided moral leadership to the world.

"No, I think we're being tremendous leaders, our country is not perfect, but we continue to perfect it," Thomas-Greenfield said. "Those imperfections are part of our history and we have to talk about them. It's our strength that we can talk about our imperfections to the world and call out other nations for those same imperfections. So it's not a criticism. It's an acknowledgement of our history."

"The fact that I came from a segregated high school and I'm now the permanent representative of the United States at the United Nations says everything about what our country is about," Thomas-Greenfield added.

Brennan noted that Thomas-Greenfield's remarks sparked a wave of criticisms, including from the Wall Street Journal whose editorial board called the UN ambassador the "Ambassador of Blame America First." Brennan asked if, in her role as UN ambassador, Thomas-Greenfield was comparing the U.S.'s own racism to other crimes toward minorities around the world.

"I was acknowledging what is a fact in the United States. Racism does exist in this country and I think it was a powerful message. Imagine any other country doing that. Our country, the uniqueness of our country, is that we can self-criticize and we can move forward and our values are clear," Thomas-Greenfield said. "But I'm realistic about what we have to do moving forward. And I think if we are going to be a voice around the globe for raising issues of human rights, we cannot whitewash our own issues in- in our own country."