Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) took shots at Joe Biden (D) for what some are describing as another political gaffe during an appearance at Jessie Jackson’s Rainbow/Push Coalition Friday.
The former vice president used his appearance to defend his past positions on race and clear his name after Democrat rival Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) questioned his race record directly during Thursday night’s Democrat debate.
“I heard and I listened to and I respect Senator Harris,” Biden said. “But we all know that 30 seconds and 60 seconds on a debate exchange can’t do justice to a lifetime committed to civil rights.”
Biden reiterated, as he did during the debate, that he never opposed voluntary busing, although Harris was correct in suggesting that Biden opposed federally mandated public busing.
“I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed,” Biden claimed during the debate.
Regardless, Biden’s remarks did not clear the air. Some say he experienced yet another gaffe after making a remark about people assuming a young person in a hoodie could be a “gangbanger.”
“That kid wearing a hoodie may very well be the next poet laureate and not a gangbanger,” Biden said during the remarks.
Booker took issue with Biden’s characterization and swiftly jumped in.
“This isn’t about a hoodie,” he tweeted Friday. “It’s about a culture that sees a problem with a kid wearing a hoodie in the first place. Our nominee needs to have the language to talk about race in a far more constructive way”:
This isn’t about a hoodie. It’s about a culture that sees a problem with a kid wearing a hoodie in the first place. Our nominee needs to have the language to talk about race in a far more constructive way. https://t.co/c2BFSSOHro
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) June 28, 2019
This is not the first time Booker has taken aim at Biden.
The two reportedly spoke on the phone last week to clear the air following Biden’s praise of late segregationists Sens. James Eastland (D-MS) and Herman Talmadge (D-GA). Booker said the 10–15-minute phone conversation was “constructive,” but it did not sound like either of them apologized.
“I understood where his intentions were. I understood where his heart was. The fact is, though, it’s not about me or him. He said things that are hurtful and are harmful,” Booker told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell last week.
“I believe he should be apologizing to the American people and having this discussion with all of us,” he continued.
Booker also appeared on MSNBC’s Live on Friday and reiterated that the next president needs to have the ability to address race relations in a way that everyone can hear, once again labeling Trump as a racist and using that as a backdrop for his plea.
“After this president – with the way he overtly uses racism as a political currency – the next leader, whoever is a leader of our party, has to be up to the challenge of bringing reconciliation and healing and addressing these issues,” Booker said.
“They can’t fall into a defensive crouch or try to shift blame as he said to me that I should apologize to him,” he continued.
“That’s not the kind of leadership we need. We need the kind of leadership that can reignite the sense of common purpose that we all have a challenge to deal with the persistent realities of racial discrimination in this country,” he added.