2020 candidate Joe Biden said he chose South Carolina to apologize for his remarks about busing Sunday because he believed the state’s residents were “most likely to have been offended.”
“If any comments I made were taken in a way that people took offense from them … I am truly sorry for that. That was not my intention,” the former vice president said Sunday at a restaurant in Charleston, the Associated Press reported.
“The fact of the matter is, that’s why I chose here in South Carolina and chose an audience that, in fact, would be the most likely to have been offended by anything that was said,” he continued. (RELATED: Kamala Harris Backtracks On Busing After Hammering Biden On The Issue)
Joe Biden: “If any comments I made were taken in a way that people took offense from them, then I am truly sorry for that… That’s why I chose here in South Carolina, and chose an audience that would in fact be the most likely to have been offended.” https://t.co/hlBDddqB5j pic.twitter.com/XboIHwAQH7
— The Hill (@thehill) July 7, 2019
The former vice president’s apology comes after he originally defended his 1970s stance on a federally mandated “busing.” The topic was first brought up during the second night of the first Democratic debates on June 27 after fellow Democratic candidate Kamala Harris condemned Biden’s opposition to the legislation some 40 years ago.
Biden opposed the policy, which aimed to desegregate towns by transporting black school kids to majority white schools and white kids to majority black schools via bus, because he thought it would “set the civil rights movement in America further back.”
Harris, however, argued during the debates that his decision to oppose the policy, no matter the reason why, was wrong because it encouraged further segregation.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day,” Harris said during the live coverage. “That little girl was me.” (RELATED: Kamala Harris Selling ‘That Little Girl Was Me’ T-Shirts)
Biden apologized Saturday to a majority black audience at his rally in Sumter, saying, “Was I wrong a few weeks ago? Yes, I was. I regret it, and I’m sorry for any of the pain of misconception that caused anybody.”
Harris responded Sunday to Biden’s remarks while visiting Hartsville, South Carolina, saying he was “right to recognize the impact of his words” and commended him for “having the courage to do it,” according to The AP.
Despite Biden’s connection to former President Barack Obama, who remains popular in the state, Harris said voters “are going to make their decisions based not just on who they were associated with, but … the work we’ve done, and most importantly our plans for the future of America.”
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