Joe Biden is refusing to back down over his controversial comments about working with racist segregationists — even as more damaging information emerged.
The ex-vice president reportedly called rival Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) about the flap but reiterated his belief that there was nothing for him to be sorry for about the tone deaf remarks.
Politico reported that the conversation was polite but Biden did not apologize and did not retract his call for Booker to apologize. Booker in turn is still pressing Biden to retract the explosive remarks, especially Biden’s odd retelling of the tale that the late James Eastland used to call him “son, not boy.”
“Cory shared directly what he said publicly — including helping Vice President Biden understand why the word ‘boy’ is painful to so many,” Sabrina Singh, Booker’s campaign spokeswoman, told Politico.
The tiff showed no signs of dying down as the Washington Post reported newly uncovered letters reveal that Biden was more cozy with Eastland than he let on.
Biden sought Eastland’s support for his measure against forced school busing, which was a civil rights era tool to desegregate public schools.
“I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week’s Committee meeting in attempting to bring my anti-busing legislation to a vote,” Biden wrote on June 30, 1977, to Sen. James Eastland, the Post reported.
Biden, who has a history of making political missteps, repeated the story about his early days in the Senate at a Manhattan fundraiser this week. He intended to reinforce his ability to get things done and to illustrate his willingness to defuse the toxic environment in Washington.
But it backfired when rival Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed Biden, posting a photo of his interracial family to explain his anger at the idea of accommodating racists like Eastland.
Booker and fellow Democratic rivals Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) also quickly hit out at Biden for the remarks.
Biden appeared to throw fuel on the fire when he lashed back at Booker, saying “Cory should know better.” That remark sounded condescending to many, especially coming from an older white man to a younger black rival.
Biden, the leader in early Democratic presidential polls, holds strong support among black voters, mostly due to his service as vice president to President Barack Obama.
But he came of politial age as a centrist Democrat nearly half a century ago and many of his positions and views are considered out of step with today’s Democratic Party.
(c)2019 New York Daily News
Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.