[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/08/art.getty.holder.jpg caption="Attorney General Eric Holder will not comment on the Cambridge, Massachusetts incident."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder who made headlines when he referred to the American people as "essentially a nation of cowards" in failing to openly discuss racial issues is staying mum on the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police incident.
Holder's chief spokesman said Holder would defer to the White House for comment on the controversial issue.
"Given that the president just spoke on this, I don't think we have anything to add," said Justice Department Director of Public Affairs Matthew Miller, a senior aide to Holder.
President Obama waded into the issue again Friday, informing the White House press corps he had spoken with Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley and said he had not meant to criticize either Crowley or the city's police department. The president later also called Professor Henry Louis Gates.
Holder issued his blunt assessment of race relations in a major speech at the Justice Department on February 19, where he addressed an overflow crowd celebrating Black History Month.
"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be in too many ways essentially a nation of cowards," he said then.