The Latest on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (all times local):
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says he won’t be apologizing for saying the Senate “got things done” with “civility” decades ago when he served alongside segregationists. He says if anyone should apologize, it should be his 2020 rival Cory Booker, who had earlier criticized his remarks.
Biden’s new comments to reporters came Wednesday night, a day after he pointed to long-dead segregationist senators to argue that Washington functioned more smoothly a generation ago than under today’s “broken” hyperpartisanship.
Biden says he was talking about the Senate’s ability to pass the Voting Rights Act. He says, “You don’t have to like the people in terms of their views.”
Asked if he would be apologizing as Booker had called for, Biden said, “Apologize for what?” He then said, “Cory should apologize. He should know better. There’s not a racist bone in my body.”
Joe Biden is under fire from rival Democratic presidential hopefuls after saying the Senate “got things done” with “civility” when he was first elected and served alongside segregationists.
Biden’s critics say his take shows that the 76-year-old former senator and vice president is out of step with his party in 2019.
The latest flap comes after a Tuesday fundraiser during which Biden mentioned segregationists James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. Biden criticized their views but said “at least there was some civility” in the Senate in that era.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of two major black candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, says Biden’s “relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place.”