Sen. Cory Booker kicked off the Dem-on-Dem 2020 attacks against former vice president Joe Biden this week, calling on Biden to apologize for invoking his relationships with two segregationist senators as an example of “civility.”
When a reporter asked Biden on Wednesday if he would apologize for his comments, the Democratic presidential candidate responded, “Apologize for what?” “Cory should apologize. He knows better,” Biden added. “There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period.”
BREAKING: @JoeBiden responds to Dem rival criticism on comments re: “some civility” w/segregationist senators: “Apologize for what? @CoryBooker should apologize” @CBSNews (w/@JuliaCherner) pic.twitter.com/zFaEXpSNXM
— Bo Erickson (@BoKnowsNews) June 19, 2019
On Tuesday, Biden name-dropped Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) during a fundraiser speech, and cited his ability to successfully work with the two segregationist senators.
“At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished,” Biden said.
Other 2020 Democratic candidates, including Booker, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio slammed Biden for the remarks. Booker released a statement, demanding an apology.
You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys.’ Men like James O. Eastland used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity.
I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together. And frankly, I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an immediate apology for the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans. He should.
DeBlasio made it personal, invoking his biracial marriage as something Eastland wanted to be illegal.
It’s past time for apologies or evolution from @JoeBiden. He repeatedly demonstrates that he is out of step with the values of the modern Democratic Party. (2/2)
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) June 19, 2019
Biden defended his work and his comments, reiterating his point was that “you don’t have to agree” in order to get legislation passed.
“Here’s the deal. I could not have disagreed with them more. I ran for the United States Senate because I disagreed with the views of the segregationists,” Biden said.
He went on to explain how his achievements included passing an extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, despite disagreements in the Senate.
“You don’t have to like the people in terms of their views,” Biden said. “But you just simply make the case and you beat them. You beat them, without changing the system.”