Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) told a group of donors in Belvedere, CA Friday that his Democrat colleagues are criticizing him primarily because he talks about bringing the country together.
“I know I’m criticized heavily by my qualified contenders who are running [when I say] ‘folks, we’ve got to bring the country together,” he said.
While some, Biden said, will say ,”well, that’s old Joe, they’re the old days,” he disagreed.
“If that’s the old days, we’re dead,” he added. “That’s not hyperbole.”
Critics say Biden’s desire to bring the country together is not the issue. The way he presented it, however, is. He originally came under fire after using his relationship with late-segregationalist Sens. James Eastland (D-MS) and Herman Talmadge (D-GA) as an example of bipartisanship.
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden told a group of donors at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City earlier this month. “He never called me boy, he always called me son.”
“Well guess what?” he continued. “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.”
“But today you look at the other side and you’re the enemy,” he added. “Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
His comparison fell flat, as Eastland and Talmadge were Democrats – not Republicans.
After Biden refused to apologize, his Democrat opponents called him out.
“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,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said in a statement.
“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 continued, scolding Biden for failing to issue an apology.
“Cory should apologize. He knows better,” Biden said. “There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career, period, period, period.”
Biden hits back at Booker over segregationist senator.
“Apologize for what? Cory [Booker] should apologize. He knows better” pic.twitter.com/xq8lLk4tTj
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) June 20, 2019
He later called Booker to clear the air, although neither of them apologized.
Things got worse for Biden during Thursday night’s debate, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) slamming him over his past positions on racial issues.
“It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country,” Harris said. “And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing.”
“And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me,” she added.