U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is taking the side of his junior senator in a spat between the latter and Joe Biden over comments made by the former vice president pining for a time when he cooperated with segregationist senators.
“I think that that history of segregation is one of the dark chapters of our nation’s history, so I understand exactly why Sen. Booker has called upon Vice President Biden to apologize to all of those who have suffered over time over the history of segregation,” Menendez said at an unrelated press conference Friday. “So, I think it’s a legitimate claim by Sen. Booker, and I worry that Vice President Biden doesn’t understand the party he seeks to lead.”
Menendez has endorsed Booker’s presidential campaign.
At a fundraiser earlier this week, Biden said that “at least there was some civility” when segregationist senators like James O. Eastland and Herman Talmadge were in office.
After those statements were leaked to the press, Booker and some others called on Biden to apologize.
He refused, later firing back at New Jersey’s junior senator, saying Booker owed him an apology.
“I think that to be reminiscent of a time in which you worked with segregationists as something that you wane on as something positive is not something that I would find positive,” Menendez said.