Biden doubles down on segregationist comments, says critics like Cory Booker “should apologize” to him
Sen. Cory Booker called on the former vice president to apologize, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren said it is never OK to ‘celebrate’ segregationists.
Joe Biden on Wednesday doubled down on his statements about working with segregationist senators, telling reporters that he has nothing to be sorry for.
Biden dismissed criticism of the comments, including from fellow Democratic presidential candidates such as Cory Booker, who called on Biden to apologize.
“Apologize for what? Cory should apologize,” Biden said. “He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body.”
The former vice president cited his past voting record and his work on the Voting Rights Act while head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Biden claimed he didn’t have to like someone else’s views to make his case and beat them.
“I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career,” Biden continued before walking away to a fundraiser in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “Period. Period. Period.”
Biden was recalling the “civility” of the Senate in the 1970s and ’80s on Tuesday when he touted his experience working with two segregationist Southern senators to get “things done” — unleashing a torrent of criticism from his Democratic rivals, some of whom denounced the comments in very personal terms by citing their own race.
Speaking at a fundraiser at New York City’s Carlyle Hotel, Biden brought up the names of Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, both Democrats who were staunchly opposed to desegregation. Eastland chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee when Biden entered the Senate — a committee he would later chair.
“I was in a cauc
Of Talmadge, Biden said he was “one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list of all these guys.”
“At least there was some civility,” Biden added. “We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition — the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
Fellow Democratic candidate, Sen. Cory Booker, who is African American, called on Biden to apologize.
“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,” Booker said in a statement.
us with James O. Eastland,” the former vice president said. “He never called me ‘boy.’ He always called me ‘son.'” Read more