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Biden Refuses to Apologize for Remarks About Working with Segregationist Lawmakers

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Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is refusing to apologize for saying Congress was able to “get things done” with “some civility” while working with Democratic segregationist senators in the 1970s.

Presidential candidate Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) said in a statement that Biden should issue an “immediate apology” for his comments.

“Vice President Biden’s relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone,” he said.

However, instead of apologizing for his comments, Biden says Booker should apologize to him.

“Cory should apologize,” he said. “He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career.”

As Time points out, Biden made his controversial remarks on Tuesday at a fundraiser in New York:

The controversy began at a New York fundraiser Tuesday when Biden pointed to long-dead segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia to argue that Washington functioned more smoothly a generation ago than under today’s “broken” hyperpartisanship.

“We didn’t agree on much of anything,” Biden said of the two men, who were prominent senators when Biden was elected in 1972. Biden described Talmadge as “one of the meanest guys I ever knew” and said Eastland called him “son,” though not “boy,” a reference to the racist way many whites addressed black men at the time.

Yet even in that Senate, Biden said, “At least there was some civility. We got things done.”

Photos by Getty Images

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