Biden’s Staffers Grumble Over Praise Of Segregationist Senators
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner in most polls, drew some fire earlier this week following reports, per The Inquisitr, that he had praised a pair of senators with whom he served early in his Senate career. The two senators, James Eastland of Missisippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, were both Southern Democrats and staunch segregationists. Biden, speaking at a high-dollar fundraiser in New York, had spoken wistfully about the bygone days of civility and bipartisanship of the past.
The statement, for which Biden has refused to apologize, led to a back and forth between Biden and another Democratic contender, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, which was a rare show of sniping between 2020 rivals; another African-American candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, was also critical of what Biden said. And it’s now led to some grumbling from Biden’s own staff.
“Apologize for what? Cory should apologize,” Biden said Wednesday. “He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body; I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period.”
Per The Washington Post, Biden’s praise of the two long-dead senators has led to “a bit of second guessing within his own campaign.”
“It might move him to pick a different senator,” an anonymous Biden adviser told The Post in reference to the comments, while expressing frustration at the same time that 76-year-old Biden is set in his ways and unlikely to change the way he behaves publicly. “He’s not someone you can go to and just say, ‘You’ve been doing this x number of years and you can’t do this anymore.'”
Another staffer, meanwhile, told the publication that Biden’s attempts to move past the controversy with humor could end up hurting him in the long run.
— Splinter (@splinter_news) June 20, 2019
It used to be a rather rare occasion for campaign staffers to anonymously criticize their own candidate in the middle of a campaign, especially a campaign that’s leading in the polls. However, this happened regularly throughout Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, as staffers leaked against each other’s internal rivals and sometimes were critical of Trump himself.
Despite the comments, as well as some criticism about his support of the 1994 crime bill and other “tough on crime” legislation that Biden spearheaded during his Senate career, the candidate remains very popular with African-American voters, The Post said. This, in part, is attributed to Biden’s time as vice president to America’s only African-American president, Barack Obama.