Booker calls on Biden to apologize over remarks on segregationist senators

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerUSAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA rule extends life of toxic coal ash ponds | Flint class action suit against Mich. officials can proceed, court rules | Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill MORE (D-N.J.) spoke out Wednesday against comments by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Biden offers well wishes to Lebanon after deadly explosion MORE in which he positively invoked two segregationist senators, calling on his fellow presidential candidate to apologize.

“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys.’ Men like [Sen.] James O. Eastland [(D-Miss.)] used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity,” Booker said in a statement Wednesday.

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“And frankly, I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an immediate apology for the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans. He should,” Booker added.

In remarks at a fundraiser Tuesday night, Biden reminisced about working with Eastland and Sen. Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) in the Senate, saying Eastland never called him “boy.”

“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.

“Vice President Biden’s relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone," Booker said. "I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together."

Booker is the second Democratic presidential candidate to directly go after Biden over the remarks. Earlier Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNYC health commissioner quits over de Blasio's COVID-19 response Fear first, education last? MSNBC contributor Maya Wiley departs network to explore New York mayoral run MORE (D) also condemned the remarks, a sharp shift during a primary season that has so far largely seen the candidates focus their barbs on President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE instead of one another.

“It’s past time for apologies or evolution from @JoeBiden. He repeatedly demonstrates that he is out of step with the values of the modern Democratic Party,” de Blasio tweeted.