Former Vice President Joe Biden told reporters on Wednesday that he was not going to apologize for invoking his ability decades ago to work with two segregationist southern senators to “get things done.”
A Fox News camera was rolling when Biden was asked if he was going to apologize for his statements. The 2020 Democrat hopeful answered, “Apologize for what?”
Biden suffered scorching criticism on Wednesday from his primary opponents including two of the black candidates running for the White House — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California – who raised serious matters after Biden highlighted his ability to work with the segregationist senators.
Booker said in a statement he was “disappointed” Biden had yet to issue an “immediate apology.”
“Cory should apologize,” Biden said in response on Wednesday. “He knows better. Not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period.”
Biden made the comments as he was arriving at a fundraising event in Bethesda, Md., on Wednesday evening.
Appearing on CNN later Wednesday night, Booker said, “I was surprised he didn’t apologize.”
He added, “I know that I was raised to speak truth to power and that I will never apologize for doing that. Vice President Biden doesn’t need this lesson and at a time when we have from the highest office in the land divisiveness, racial hatred and bigotry being spewed he should have the sensitivity to know that this is a time I need to be an ally, I need to be a healer, I need not engage in the usage of words that will harm the people. And so, this is deeply disappointing.”
When asked how he felt about rival Democrats saying he had issues talking about race, Biden answered, “They know better.”
Booker stated on Wednesday, “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.”
Harris told Fox News while riding an elevator on Capitol Hill that “it concerns me deeply.”
She continued, “If those men had their way, I wouldn’t’ be in the United States Senate and on this elevator right now.”