Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE reportedly said in an interview nearly 40 years ago that he was against busing to racially integrate schools.
Biden made the comments in a 1981 CNN interview while voicing his support of efforts to limit the courts’ power to order busing, CNN’s KFILE reported Sunday.
The remarks resurfaced as Biden faces scrutiny over his record on race, an issue that ignited a contentious back-and-forth with Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTwo 'View' hosts test positive for coronavirus ahead of Harris interview Rep. Karen Bass to run for mayor of Los Angeles: report Biden taps big bank skeptic to for top regulatory post MORE (D-Calif.) during a 2020 Democratic primary debate last week. The heated exchange occurred after Harris voiced dismay over Biden’s opposition to busing to desegregate schools.
Biden responded by noting he was only against busing mandated by the Department of Education.
The former vice president said in an interview on the CNN program "Newsmaker" in July 1981 that he happened to be "one of those so-called people that are labeled as a liberal on civil rights, but oppose busing."
"And I support the effort to curtail the ability of courts to bus," he said, before later adding, "What I have argued as one who grew up in the civil rights movement and ran for office as a public defender and a member of an active participant in civil rights cases, I have argued that the least effective remedy to be imposed is the busing remedy."
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bate said in a statement to CNN's KFile that Biden has "always been an advocate for integration, but saw that the forced busing being discussed in these statements was not the right mechanism for achieving integration in Delaware because it put an undue burden on African-American families and children."
“It should be about the future. It should be about what we’re going to do to deal with institutional racism. And it’s real,” he said. “We’re going at this backwards.”