Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who’s running for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, blasted fellow 2020 contender Joe Biden on Wednesday after the former vice president recounted his productive working relationships with two segregationist senators.
Biden’s comments, which came Tuesday night during a fundraising event in New York City, were in regard to two former Democratic senators who fought desegregation: James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia.
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden said, according to NPR. “He never called me ‘boy’; he always called me ‘son.'”
“Well, guess what? At least there was some civility,” the former vice president 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.”
Joe Biden recently said at a fundraiser that he longed for the days of “Civility” in the Senate
He cited two Senators as examples of civility:
James Eastland who said “Blacks were part of an inferior race”
And Herman Talmadge who was a bitter segregationist
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 19, 2019
Booker, who is African-American, was not amused.
“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys,'” the New Jersey Democrat said in a statement.
“Vice President Biden’s relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone. 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,” he added.
.@CoryBooker out with full statement re: Biden: “Vice President Biden’s relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone.” pic.twitter.com/YHZkaT5Fjn
— Hanna Trudo (@HCTrudo) June 19, 2019
“And frankly, I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an immediate apology for the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans,” Booker said. “He should.”
As the Washington Examiner pointed out, Booker put out that statement after replying to a Twitter user who lamented the fact that “i’m going to have to vote for joe biden in 2020.”
“No, you won’t,” Booker wrote.
No, you won’t. https://t.co/x8E7Mlriue
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) June 19, 2019
Some African-American members of Congress, however, defended Biden’s comments.
“I worked with Strom Thurmond all my life,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, a Democrat, told Politico, referring to the infamous segregationist senator. “You don’t have to agree with people to work with them.”
Politico reported that about a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus also defended the former vice president.
Biden’s aides, however, have reportedly warned him against using Eastland as an example of how to work with one’s political opponents.
“He needs to use a new, less problematic example,” a source close to Biden told CNN.
A senior adviser to the former vice president added that Biden has told the story “countless times.”
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