Former Vice President Joe Biden laughed out loud when PBS reporter Judy Woodruff asked about the “mess” created by the 1994 crime bill, which resulted in a dramatic uptick in incarcerations.
Biden was responding to criticism from White House adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner during an interview for “PBS Newshour” that aired Friday evening. (RELATED: Cory Booker Says He’ll ‘Fight’ Anyone Who Attacks Biden — Right Before He Attacks Biden)
Woodruff asked Biden about Kushner, saying, “Another subject, the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, he told a reporter this week who asked him about your criticism of him that he has spent a lot of time in the White House, and I’m quoting him, cleaning up the messes that you left behind and, in particular, I’m quoting, the reforms enacted by this administration, the Trump Administration, he said roll back a lot of the very harsh laws they were created and partially written by vice president Biden over 20 years ago which put a lot of African-Americans in prison and really destroyed a generation and did a lot of harm to our country.”
Biden laughed as Woodruff finished the question.
“Look, I thought he was a foreign policy guy, I didn’t know he was also a criminal justice person,” Biden said of Kushner, who sat for an interview at The TIME 100 Summit on criminal justice reform after being tapped by the president last year to negotiate the First Step Act with Congress.
Biden went on to defend the 1994 legislation by pointing out the fact that the African-American community had supported it at the time and still supported him personally. “Look, I guess the best way to answer the question in a short amount of time, why is it that I get overwhelming support from the African-American community when the law was written, why was it that the members of black caucus supported it? Why was it that the black mayors of the country supported me? Why is it that I have more support from the African-American community today than everybody else combined.”
Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination as well, has also been sharply criticized for his support of the same 1994 bill.