Sanders calls on Biden to apologize for comments on segregationist senators

White House hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Buttigieg says he doubts consulting work for insurer led to layoffs Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles MORE (I-Vt.) called on 2020 front-runner former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Trump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles MORE to apologize for touting his work with two segregationist senators.

“I agree with Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Shooting in Jersey City leaves multiple people dead, including police officer Schumer to colleagues running for White House: Impeachment comes first MORE. This is especially true at a time when the Trump administration is trying to divide us up with its racist appeals,” Sanders tweeted, echoing an earlier call from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), another presidential candidate, for Biden to apologize.

Biden made the remarks at a Tuesday night fundraiser, where he recalled working with former Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.), who were both staunch segregationists.

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“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.

A slate of 2020 Democrats condemned Biden over the remarks, including Sens. Booker, Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll: Buttigieg slips into fourth place as Biden widens lead Yang qualifies for December Democratic debate The media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Buttigieg says he doubts consulting work for insurer led to layoffs Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles MORE (Mass.) and New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioMayor accuses de Blasio of dumping New York's homeless in Newark Conservatives must absolutely talk politics at the Thanksgiving table Booker campaign announces six-figure ad buy to qualify for December debate MORE.

“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.”

Though Biden has emerged as the crowded Democratic primary’s front-runner, progressives have weighed his centrist reputation and say he could be too eager to work with Republicans if elected.

Sanders, whose 2016 insurgent presidential campaign electrified the progressive base, is trying to eat into Biden’s lead in early national and statewide primary polls. Sanders consistently polls near the top of such surveys but has been consistently outpaced by the former vice president.

The two presidential contenders have mostly taken only veiled swipes at each other in the early stages of the nominating contest, though the criticisms could get more pointed as the primary drags out, particularly as the debates get underway.