A New York Times reporter erroneously said that two segregationist Democrats were actually Republicans Thursday during an appearance on CNN.
Astead Herndon made the misstatement after former Vice President Joe Biden waxed nostalgic about his time working with hard-line segregationists lawmakers James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia early in his tenure in the U.S. Senate. (RELATED: Biden Says He’ll Win Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida In 2020)
“Well, I think what we learned is similar to things that we’ve already known about the vice president,” Herndon said. “He has often praised what he called a bygone era of civility in the Senate.”
Herndon conceded that it may have been necessary for Biden to work across the aisle with some “uncomfortable figures” in those days. (RELATED: Joe Biden Holds Fundraiser In $34 Million Penthouse)
“That sometimes comes with these uncomfortable figures — figures who are vocally open racist and segregationist — but Senator Biden had working relationships with them in the Senate,” he said.
Herndon then falsely implied that Eastland and Talmadge were Republicans.
“Why not mention other Republicans?” Herndon asked.
Neither Eastland or Talmadge were Republicans. Like nearly every statewide elected official in the deep south during that time period, they were both Democrats. Eastland served as a senator from Mississippi for roughly 35 years and was the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 21 years.
Talmadge served as the governor of Georgia from 1948-1955, and then as a Democratic senator from 1957-1981, when he was his final election to Republican Sen. Mack Mattingly.