Author and left-wing activist Ta-Nehisi Coates declared this week that former Vice President Joe Biden “shouldn’t be president.”
Coates, who appeared before a Congressional committee on Wednesday advocating for reparations for slavery, was asked during an appearance on Democracy Now what his thoughts were on Biden speaking fondly of segregationist Democratic lawmakers Jim Eastland and Hermy Talmadge.
“Joe Biden shouldn’t be president,” Coates said. “I don’t think I’m breaking any news here; if he ends up being the nominee, better him than Trump. But I think that’s a really, really low standard.”
Biden came under intense fire on Wednesday by rival Democratic presidential contenders, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and New York mayor Bill de Blasio.
Booker issued a statement on Wednesday condemning Biden’s remarks.
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.
Sen. Harris said, “I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Biden. He’s done very good work and he has served our country in a very noble way. But to coddle the reputations of segregationists, of people who, if they had their way, I would literally not be standing here as a member of the United States Senate is, I think, it’s just — it’s misinformed and it’s wrong.”
Defiant in the face of repudiation, Joe Biden refused to apologize (even demanded that Sen. Booker apologize) and said: “there’s not a racist bone in my body.”
“Somebody celebrating their relationship with somebody who saw no problem depriving an entire population of African Americans in their state of the right to vote, the right to participate as American citizens — the fact that person was polite to [Biden]; it’s nice that Eastland never called Joe Biden boy,” Coates said. “It’s nice that Joe Biden had that privilege. But the fact of the matter is that Joe Biden owes his very presence in the race right now to the first black president Barack Obama. And if it were up to Eastland and Talmadge Barack Obama would not only not be in the White House, he would not exist.”