Biden called Booker to ease tensions after remarks about working with segregationists: report

Biden called Booker to ease tensions after remarks about working with segregationists: report
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenUnited Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' Omar: Biden not the candidate to 'tackle a lot of the systematic challenges that we have' MORE called fellow presidential candidate Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSeven takeaways from a busy Democratic presidential campaign weekend in Iowa Iowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding MORE (D-N.J.) in an attempt to halt the escalating war of words between the two that began with Biden reminiscing about working with segregationist senators and Booker urging him to apologize for the remarks, according to The New York Times.

Biden called Booker shortly after the New Jersey senator’s Wednesday night appearance on CNN, during which Booker told Don Lemon Biden “shouldn’t need this lesson,” The Times reported, citing two people familiar with the call.

A spokesperson for Booker's campaign said the senator "shared directly what he said publicly," adding that he still believes Biden should apologize for his remarks.


“Cory shared directly what he said publicly — including helping Vice President Biden understand why the word 'boy' is painful to so many," a spokesperson for Booker's campaign told The Hill. "Cory believes that Vice President Biden should take responsibility for what he said and apologize to those who were hurt."

Biden sparked the controversy when, at a fundraiser Tuesday, he spoke of his time working with Sens. James O. Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.), both of whom opposed the civil rights movement.

“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.

Booker was one of the first candidates to call for Biden to apologize for the comments.

Biden the responded by saying Wednesday evening that Booker should apologize.

“He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career,” Biden said. That was followed by Booker's appearance on CNN.

Biden’s campaign has also sent out talking points noting that his competitors in the crowded Democratic field have themselves worked with congressional colleagues who have been accused of racism.

“The point of the story is that you have to be able to work with people, even if they hold positions repugnant to you in order to make some progress,” the talking points read.

“Our opponents in this race agree — they’ve worked with [former Sen.] Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' MORE [R-Ala.], [Rep.] Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingIowa Steak Fry to draw record crowds for Democrats Ocasio-Cortez rips Steve King after he shares video drinking from toilet-fountain hybrid at border Steve King says he drank from toilet at detention center MORE [R-Iowa], [Sen.] Cindy Hyde Smith [R-Miss.] among others across the aisle to do their jobs in Congress.”

Booker’s and Biden’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Updated 6:16 p.m.