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
© Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Can Biden's canceled cancer initiative be salvaged? Biden's health care gaffe shows he's not ready for prime time MORE called fellow presidential candidate Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Schumer throws support behind bill to study reparations 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's no racist; he's an equal opportunity offender Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question MORE [R-Ala.], [Rep.] Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingYoung Turks reporter tricks Steve King into tweeting about 'A Few Good Men' villain Holocaust survivor who offered to tour Auschwitz with Ocasio-Cortez calls for her to 'be removed from Congress' Liz Cheney hits back at Ocasio-Cortez over concentration camp comments: 'This isn't model Congress' 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.