President Donald Trump weighed in on the mounting controversies that have engulfed former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign.
On Sunday, Trump took to social media to criticize Biden for having worked with Democrat segregationists in the 1970s to opposing busing for school integration. The president also castigated the Democrat frontrunner’s more recent promise to raise taxes if elected.
“Sleepy Joe Biden just admitted he worked with segregationists and separately, has already been very plain about the fact that he will be substantially raising everyone’s taxes if he becomes president,” Trump wrote. “Ridiculously, all Democrats want to substantially raise taxes!”
Sleepy Joe Biden just admitted he worked with segregationists and separately, has already been very plain about the fact that he will be substantially raising everyone’s taxes if he becomes president. Ridiculously, all Democrats want to substantially raise taxes!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2019
Last month, Biden elicited widespread controversy after offering praise for the late-Sens. James Eastland (D-MS) and Herman Talmdage (D-GA) at a fundraiser in New York City. Biden mentioned the two men while touting his ability to form “consensus,” but he did not express what they were able to accomplish together.
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden told donors, attempting a Southern drawl. “He never called me boy, he always called me son.”
“Well guess what?” the former vice president 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. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
Biden’s praise of Eastland and Talmadge was highly controversial, as both men were avowed segregationists who dedicated their careers to fighting civil rights and integration. Eastland, whom Biden has praised as a friend and mentor, was called the “voice of the white South” for his support of Jim Crow and propensity for referring to African Americans as “an inferior race.” Talmadge, on the other hand, promised to do everything in his power to protect “separation of the races” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, which struck down segregation in public schools.
Although Biden had invoked the segregationist Democrats in the past, he always refrained from discussing the confines of their professional relationship. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), however, was quick to point out during the first Democrat presidential debate that both Talmadge and Eastland were some of Biden’s closest allies in his crusade against busing.
“I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground,” Harris said, “but I also believe and it’s personal and it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senator who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.”
“It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose bussing,” she continued. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bussed to school every day. That little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate… we have to take it seriously.”
After standing defiant and refusing to apologize in the wake of his initial comment and then attempting to defend himself in the aftermath of Harris’s rebuke at the debate, Biden finally apologized during a campaign stop in South Carolina on Sunday.
“Was I wrong a few weeks ago to somehow give the impression to people that I was praising those men who I successfully opposed time and again,” he asked rhetorically. “Yes, I was. I regret it. And I’m sorry for any of the pain or misconception they may have caused anybody.”
Despite the mea culpa about praising segregationists, Biden refused to apologize for his long held position on busing.
“I don’t believe a child should have to get on a bus to attend a good school,” the former vice president said. “There should be first-rate schools of quality in every neighborhood of this nation, especially in 2019 America.”