John Lewis defends Biden: 'I don't think the remarks are offensive'
© Greg Nash

Civil rights movement leader Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment Detroit police chief calls Tlaib facial recognization idea 'racist' MORE (D-Ga.) defended former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California MORE’s controversial comments on working with segregationist senators Friday, saying politicians and leaders should “not give up on any human being.” 

"I don't think the remarks are offensive,” Lewis told reporters. “During the height of the civil rights movement we worked with people and got to know people that were members of the [Ku Klux Klan], people who opposed us, even people who beat us, arrested us and jailed us."

“We never gave up on our fellow human beings. I would not give up on any human being,” Lewis continued.


Alan He, a CBS reporter, tweeted a video of Lewis's comment. 

Lewis also reportedly told reporters that he would not “judge” other Democrats who have called on Biden to apologize, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

"No. I’m not going to judge other people and sit in judgement on others,” Lewis said, according to a tweet from CNN’s Rebecca Buck.

Biden recalled working with former Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.), who were both segregationists, at a fundraiser Tuesday night. He called for more “civility” among lawmakers and in Washington.

“At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished,” Biden said.