Biden Spox: Working With Segregationists Same as Warren Working With GOP

The former VP has faced criticized over favorable remarks about working with segregationist senators

• June 19, 2019 4:05 pm


Biden campaign surrogate Anita Dunn defended Joe Biden's comments in which the former vice president seemingly praised segregationist Democratic senators at a fundraiser on Tuesday.

Dunn's comments came after Biden praised former Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, both of whom were lifelong segregationists, saying he missed their "civility."

"At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done," Biden said according to the New York Times. "We got it finished. But today you look at the other side and you're the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don't talk to each other anymore."

Dunn told MSNBC host Kasie Hunt on Wednesday that Biden tells stories like this "all the time" in stump speeches.

"You know, Kasie, people on the stump are using examples all the time," Dunn said. "People in the Senate work all the time with members of the other party whose positions are repugnant to all of us as Democrats. You know, Cory Booker, who has worked with Jeff Sessions on many things. Elizabeth Warren talks about how she's worked with Chuck Grassley, who led the fight for Brett Kavanaugh and who wouldn't even meet with Merrick Garland. And Elizabeth Warren tells the story about how she has worked with Chuck Grassley for over-the-counter hearing aids to save money for people."

"But none of these people are espousing segregationist views," Hunt responded.

"Well, I would just say that many of them are espousing views that are an anathema to many people in the Democratic party when it comes to women's rights, when it comes to immigration, and when it comes to some pretty broad civil rights issues that many of us feel strongly about in 2020, including Joe Biden," Dunn replied. "So I think the point that Vice President Biden was making last night was that, yes, those views were repugnant to him, and he has told that story many times because of how repugnant those views were to him."

Dunn formerly served as the communications director for President Obama during his first term and stirred controversy when she praised the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong as someone who she "turns to most" for tips on political philosophy.

Other Democrats have criticized Biden for his recent comments, which are perceived as out of step with mainstream Democratic views. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed Biden in a tweet and demanded that he apologize.

Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) also criticized Biden for his remarks saying Biden's relationship with Talmadge and Eastland are not "examples of how to bring our country together." Booker called on Biden to apologize for "the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans."