Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden praised notorious segregationist Strom Thurmond as “one of my closest friends,” a video unearthed by The Washington Examiner has revealed.
During a speech at the Strom Thurmond Institute in South Carolina in December 1988, Biden praised the segregationist Republican senator of South Carolina for the support and encouragement he had given him.
Biden began the speech by describing the close relationship he had developed with the Southern Democrat-turned-Republican. Strom Thurmond ran for president in 1948 on a segregationist platform and led a “record-setting” filibuster to block the Civil Rights Act in the 1950s. The Republican never gave up on his ideals.
During his speech, Biden noted the ideological differences between himself and the segregationist senator but nevertheless praised his friend. Biden seemingly justified Thurmond’s views by describing the segregationist as someone who “understands” that the United States is a “heterogeneous” society, which means that “every point of view” needs to be acknowledged, and listened to.
“I get along with Strom Thurmond because I respect him. Because Strom Thurmond believes deeply in what he does, and he is a consummate legislator. He understands that this country is made up of 240 million people, the most heterogenous, diverse society in the world, and every point of view has to be accommodated. Every point of view has to be listened to.”
It comes as no surprise that Biden praised Strom Thurmond, given that he had also opposed busing desegregation. The Democratic presidential candidate has recently come under renewed scrutiny for praising far-right and right-wing figures throughout his career.
Most recently Biden, as The Young Turks reporter Emma Vigeland revealed on Twitter, came under intense scrutiny for praising George W. Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, as a “decent man.” In 2015, Biden said — without irony, as Vigeland noted — that Cheney had helped him with setting the “legal parameters” of the vice president’s office.
Prior to being criticized for praising Cheney, Biden came under fire for describing the current vice president, Mike Pence, as a “decent guy.” As CNN reported, these comments frustrated many of the left because of Pence’s long-held views. Pence has, for instance, been described as the “most anti-LGBT” politician in the country.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, although Biden is currently leading in the polls, his previous statements and right-wing voting record are guaranteed to come under scrutiny. Biden is the only Democrat in the race to have voted for the Iraq war, and he has throughout his career supported right-wing legislation.
Joe Biden recapitulates many of Hillary Clinton’s worst problems, often in a more severe form. https://t.co/W8DW58pHfn
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) April 25, 2019
Biden supported a number of tough-on-crime policies, supported the war on drugs, laid the groundwork for the PATRIOT Act, supported the militarization of domestic law enforcement and banking deregulation, and he has a “mixed” record on abortion and LGBTQ issues.