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

Civil rights movement leader Rep. John LewisJohn LewisMedia cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite Rubio criticizes reporters, Democrat for racism accusations against McCain Graham: Every Republican president or nominee 'will be accused of being a racist' MORE (D-Ga.) defended former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Biden campaign rips 'Medicare for All,' calls on Dems to protect Affordable Care Act Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' 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.