Former Vice President Joe Biden hit back at Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, arguing Wednesday that he owed no apology for being civil with segregationists when he worked in the Senate.
Biden, who is leading the ever-expanding pack running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has spent most of his time on the campaign trail focused on attacking President Donald Trump rather than his primary opponents. (RELATED: Biden’s First Move As President? Kill The Trump Tax Cuts)
But when reporters approached Biden to ask about his comments — about the fact that it was sometimes necessary to work pleasantly with people even if you happened to disagree — and the backlash he received following them.
BREAKING: @JoeBiden responds to Dem rival criticism on comments re: “some civility” w/segregationist senators: “Apologize for what? @CoryBooker should apologize” @CBSNews (w/@JuliaCherner) pic.twitter.com/zFaEXpSNXM
— Bo Erickson (@BoKnowsNews) June 19, 2019
Biden once again explained that, especially in politics, it was often necessary to work with people whose ideas and beliefs might be different in order to get things done and get legislation passed. He mentioned the Voting Rights Act specifically.
One reporter asked if he would offer an apology as Booker suggested he should. “Apologize for what?” Biden asked. “Cory should apologize.”
Booker, following Biden’s initial comments about working civilly with segregationist Democratic Sens. James O. Eastland (Mississippi) and Herman Talmadge (Georgia), issued a full statement. “I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an immediate apology.”
.@CoryBooker calls on @JoeBiden to apologize for his comments praising segregationist senators pic.twitter.com/PNb18vRGDn
— Kevin Robillard (@Robillard) June 19, 2019
Biden communications director Symone Sanders made the case for her boss in terms similar to his, tweeting, “@JoeBiden did not praise a segregationist. That is a disingenuous take. He basically said sometimes in Congress, one has to work with terrible or down right racist folks to get things done. And then went on to say when you can’t work with them, work around them.”
.@JoeBiden did not praise a segregationist. That is a disingenuous take. He basically said sometimes in Congress, one has to work with terrible or down right racist folks to get things done. And then went on to say when you can’t work with them, work around them.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) June 19, 2019