Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker said the Founding Fathers wrote "bigotries" into the United States Constitution.
Speaking to NPR's Morning Edition, Booker called for "creating consensus," by leveling criticism at America's founding.
"The founders were imperfect geniuses," Booker said. "They wrote a lot of our bigotries into [the Constitution]."
"If you think about how we have overcome those things, it's always been by creating, first, calls to consciousness, speaking truth about the injustices, and then bringing together those uncommon coalitions," he said.
"We are a nation of conscience, and I found partners on the other side of the aisle who agree with me on these issues," Booker said. "And we can build from there."
It is unclear what "bigotries" Booker is specifically referencing. Request for comment was not immediately returned.
Several of Booker's fellow Democratic candidates for president, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.), have come out in support of reparations, once a fringe position held on the far left. Booker has yet to take a position on paying reparations for slavery.
Booker's accusations of bigotry were not limited to the Founding Fathers. Booker also accused President Donald Trump of using "rank racist rhetoric" during the immigration debate, where the president has called for securing the border.
The New Jersey Democrat also dismissed "rugged individualism."
"I love rugged individualism and self-reliance. But rugged individualism didn't get us to the moon," he said. "It didn't beat the Nazis or Jim Crow."