Booker calls on Biden to apologize over remarks on segregationist senators

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSpeculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage Conway: Trump is 'toying with everybody' by attacking Bloomberg for stop-and-frisk comments Democratic rivals sharpen attacks as Bloomberg rises MORE (D-N.J.) spoke out Wednesday against comments by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad 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 BlasioBloomberg compared civil libertarians, teachers union to NRA 'extremists' in 2013: report De Blasio endorses Sanders for president While Klobuchar surges, Warren flounders 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 TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press 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.