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U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Booker slams Biden for comments praising segregationist senators

Biden cited two pro-segregation lawmakers at Tuesday fundraiser

By Nikita Biryukov, June 19 2019 4:12 pm

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is taking aim at former Vice President Joe Biden after comments made by the latter praising two segregationist senators made by the latter at a fundraiser surfaced Wednesday.

“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys,’” Booker said. “Men like James O. Eastland used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity.”

At a fundraiser on Tuesday, Biden praised the civility of Congress in a now-bygone era, saying he was able to work with Eastland and others despite differences in their beliefs.

Eastland, a former U.S. senator from Mississippi, opposed desegregation and at one point claimed the kidnapping of three civil rights activists was a hoax. The three were later killed, and the investigation revealed that the Ku Klux Klan was involved in their kidnapping and murder.

“Vice President Biden’s relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone,” Booker said. “I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together.”

Herman Talmadge, another former pro-segregation U.S. senator, once ordered schools close rather than desegregate after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregated schools were unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education.

“And frankly, I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an immediate apology for the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans,” Booker said. “He should.”

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