Biden Responds To Booker: 'Cory Should Apologize

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

It was an olive branch attempt to smooth things over after Booker criticized the former vice president for speaking about his success working with documented segregationist senators and joking about a black man calling him "boy". His comment at a NY fundraiser this week that the Senate "got things done" with "civility" even when the body included segregationists with whom he disagreed sparked outrage from many Democrats, including two black candidates who are also seeking the party's nomination - Sens. He went on to single out his ability to work with two colleagues, Herman Talmadge and James O. Eastland, who were vocal supporters of segregation. "He never called me 'boy, ' he always called me 'son, '" Biden said, dropping his voice into a Southern drawl.

"We never gave up on our fellow human beings - and I would not give up on any human being", he continued.

Biden insisted that as a Democratic president, he would bring this style of civility to a bitterly divided Washington. He said he could work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) without being "best buddies" because he knows how to "demonstrate respect" for Republicans. "I've been involved in civil rights my whole career". We didn't agree on much of anything.

Yet the vitriol in modern partisan politics prevents such important work, the candidate explained. "What other terrible stuff did you manage to build consensus on?" Not the opposition, the enemy. "We don't talk to each other any more". In another in 1977, Biden wrote Eastland for help on one of his early legislative proposals: to combat a court order that racially segregated school districts bus children to create more integrated classrooms, a practice Biden opposed and wanted to change.

Eastland, in addition to his opposition to racial integration, ridiculed black soldiers during World War II and claimed the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers in MS was a "publicity stunt".

Biden's SC supporters put it even more bluntly.

Biden's campaign has pushed back fiercely against the barrage of criticism he has received from 2020 presidential candidates.

It was Thurmond who began the wholesale conversion of southern Democrat segregationists into Republicans when he announced in 1964 that he was quitting the Democratic Party to support Republican Barry Goldwater for the presidency.

"At least there was some civility", he said.

Yet rather than acknowledging the importance of civility, Biden's opponents in the 2020 primary leapt at the opportunity to demonize their competition. "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".

Guest co-host Ana Navarro said she thinks Booker is using Biden's comments to get attention. He characterized the former vice president's statements as "praising segregationist senators".

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But other prominent black lawmakers, including the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, Jim Clyburn, defended Mr Biden. "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", Booker concluded. "Cory should apologize. He knows better", Biden added. "I agree with Cory Booker. This is especially true at a time when the Trump administration is trying to divide us up with its racist appeals", Sanders tweeted.

California Senator Kamala Harris, who is black, lambasted Mr Biden for "coddling" segregationists.

"I think he's got to address it head on and show people what his line of thinking was", Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist in SC, told the Post. "The Ku Klux Klan celebrated the election of one of them".

Asked by reporters outside a fundraiser in Maryland whether he should apologize, Biden asked, "Apologize for what?" He was a segregationist.

"Look, Joe Biden isn't going to stop being Joe Biden, so why would I tell him to even try?" said state Sen. "I beat him on the Voting Rights Act". "People here know Joe Biden", Harpootlian added, "because he's been coming here for years".

Earlier this week, results from a USC/Los Angeles Times survey were published showing a "generic Democratic nominee" created by more than 5,100 primary voters from both parties.

"There's not a racist bone in my body", Biden said.

Yet Booker did not reconsider. He refused to apologize. These candidates are out for blood.

The former vice-president has capitalised on his time as deputy to President Barack Obama, the first-ever black United States president who is still revered among Democrats.

Top strategists, Republican and Democrat, have been marveling at the myopic poor form on display.

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