New York lawmaker defends Biden's 'civility' comments: 'He had to get a job done'

Rep. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeInside the progressive hunt for vulnerable House Democrats Hillicon Valley: DOJ opens tech antitrust probe | Facebook, Amazon set lobbying records | Barr attacks encryption as security risk | NSA to create new cybersecurity arm House lawmakers to introduce bill banning facial recognition tech in public housing MORE (D-N.Y.) during an interview with “Rising” defended former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE after the Democratic 2020 White House hopeful touted his work with two segregationist lawmakers during a campaign fundraiser.

Clarke said, while she doesn’t agree with Biden’s decision to work with Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) decades ago, she argued that his comments have to be put into context.

“He had to get a job done and ostracizing those individuals would not have served the American people well during that time,” she said. “I certainly would not have chosen to interact with those individuals who held racist beliefs, I doubt they would have interacted with me but I’m putting what he said in context.”

Biden on Tuesday reportedly recalled  a sense of “civility” in the Senate when he worked alongside the two segregationist senators in the 1970s and '80s, saying that they “didn't agree on much” but they “got things done.”  

The New York congresswoman went on to say in the Hill.TV interview that "it’s unfortunate we still have individuals who hold those beliefs in Congress today." 

“They may not be as outspoken or it may not be as apparent but certainly when you think about how people are basically justifying what’s happening at the southern border, justifying some of the things that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE has said right now in the 21st century that serve with me in Congress,” she said.

Clarke added that even though she is not “comfortable” with some of these lawmakers, she might consider working with them if it meant helping move legislation forward, citing a bill she recently proposed to combat the spread of misinformation online.

“I’m not comfortable with those individuals, I doubt that I would necessarily partner with them on a whole heap of things but if one of them were interested in helping me move forward the deepfakes legislation, I may consider that,” Clarke said.

—Tess Bonn