Jesse Jackson: Harris 'established Biden on the states' rights side of history'

Jesse Jackson: Harris 'established Biden on the states' rights side of history'
© Greg Nash

Prominent civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday that Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisWhy in the world are White House reporters being told to mask up again? Want to improve vaccine rates? Ask for this endorsement Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act MORE (D-Calif.) established her fellow Democratic presidential opponent Joe BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot MORE to be "on the states’ rights side of history," during this week's Democratic primary debate.

Jackson made the remark to Politico in an interview published Sunday, referring to Harris's remarks calling out the former vice president over his previous stance on busing black students to majority white schools.

Jackson said Harris “established Biden on the states’ rights side of history,” which “cannot stand the test of time.”

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“He’s for voluntary busing, I’m for court-ordered busing — well, everyone’s for voluntary busing,” Jackson told the outlet.

Jackson explained that Biden's opposition to federally mandated busing was part of a larger debate over the federal government’s role in resolving institutional racism.

“The federal government had to order the abolition of slavery, the federal government had to order the right to vote, they had to order the desegregation of schools and jobs and contracts. So ‘voluntary’ assumes that those who are oppressive have some will to move based on moral values, and that does not happen.”

But Jackson added that Biden had done “a lot of good things.”

The civil rights activist had previously said Biden was on the "wrong side of history."

Harris on Thursday night accused Biden of being opposed to busing those students and also criticized recent comments he made about working with segregationist senators. She noted that she personally benefited from such busing. 

Biden has previously received criticism for saying that there had been "civility" when he worked with segregationist Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) in the 1970s. 

The former vice president and his campaign have stressed Biden's efforts to combat discrimination while in office, including his support for the Voting Rights Act, claiming Harris "mischaracterized my position across the board.”

Biden's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Jackson's remarks.