Former Vice President Joseph Biden is, according to every major poll taken in recent months, the leading Democratic contender for president in 2020. He leads all of his opponents both overall and in battleground states and is ahead of President Trump in head-to-head matchups, both according to public polls and Trump’s own internal polls, per The Inquisitr.
Biden, throughout the early going of the campaign, has been highly critical of the president but has also followed a mostly center-left political program, one that often includes a desire to return to the days of politics before the rise of the current president. Much of what Biden has been saying on the trail marks a departure from the rising progressive energy in the Democratic Party during the Trump era.
That tendency was out in force at a Biden appearance Tuesday night, per a new report.
According to a tweet by reporter Edward Isaac-Dovere of The Atlantic, Biden appeared Tuesday at a high-dollar fundraiser at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City, where he looked back on what he sees as a bygone era of civility and bipartisan comity in government.
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland… he never called me boy, he always called me son.”
Eastland, a Democrat from Mississippi, served in the Senate from the early 1940s through the late 1970s and was one of the leading segregationists and opponents of civil rights legislation of his era.
Isaac-Dovere also tweeted Biden’s partial praise for the late Sen. Herman Talmadge, another Southern segregationist senator with whom he served during his early years in the Senate.
“We didn’t agree on much of anything,” Biden said of Talmadge. “We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy.”
The reports of Biden’s quotes drew some angry reactions.
“Joe Biden is talking about being ‘civil’ with an unabashed white supremacist,” Erick Fernandez tweeted in reaction. “Being ‘civil’ with someone who said Blacks were an ‘inferior race’ is not something to tout.”
Joe Biden invoked two segregationist senators, James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, as he fondly recalled the “civility” of the Senate in the '70s and '80s https://t.co/DGJyIle7dH— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) June 19, 2019
“This is a good example of how ‘civility’ (as opposed to decency or good faith) is nothing more than accommodation with the powerful for their own comfort,” columnist Jamelle Bouie of The New York Times said on Twitter.
Also at the fundraiser, per Bloomberg News, Biden promised the 100 wealthy donors that he wasn’t interested in any effort to “demonize” the rich.
“Truth of the matter is, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done,” the former vice president said. “We can disagree in the margins. But the truth of the matter is, it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living would change.”
Biden has vowed, via his own Twitter account, to undo President Trump’s tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans.