Campaign

Harris doubles down, criticizes Biden’s ‘nostalgia’ over segregationists

Greg Nash

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Friday doubled down on her criticism of fellow presidential contender Joe Biden, saying that the former vice president’s “nostalgia” for working with segregationist senators was “hurtful” and “misplaced.” 

Harris said in an appearance on MSNBC that she disliked Biden’s characterization of who the segregationists were. 

{mosads}”The characterization and the nostalgia about who they were I find to be misplaced, and it was hurtful to me to hear that they would be nostalgic about people who if they had their way I would not serve in the United States Senate,” she said.

“On the heels of the history of extreme pain and damage, not to mention death, you have to draw the line,” she added.

Harris’s comments come the morning after a heated exchange with Biden on the second night of Democratic presidential primary debates.

Harris went after Biden’s record on civil rights Thursday night in one of the most dramatic moments of the presidential primary debate.

“I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground,” she told Biden.

“But I also believe, and it’s personal and I was actually very — it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country,” she said.

Biden drew a wave of criticism earlier this month after saying that there had been “civility” when he worked with segregationist Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) in the 1970s, stating that they “didn’t agree on much” but they “got things done.” 

Harris on Thursday also accused Biden of working with segregationist lawmakers to oppose busing black students to schools attended by mostly white students, adding that she personally benefited from such busing. 

“There was a little girl in California who was bused to school. That little girl was me,” she said.

Biden claimed Harris “mischaracterized my position across the board.”

Pressed on MSNBC on whether she believed Biden was insensitive to race in a way that would making him a poor fit for the presidency, Harris said, “I wouldn’t say that.”

“I just think he and I have a difference of opinion and also difference of opinion on states’ rights,” she said. “We have so many examples in history of where states have limited or restricted peoples’ civil rights.” 

 

Both Biden and Harris are considered top-tier candidates among more than two dozen people vying for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.   

Tags 2020 Democratic primary 2020 election Democratic debates Joe Biden Kamala Harris

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