MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin said former vice president Joe Biden sounded "Trumpian" in refusing to apologize for remarks recalling past "civility" working with Democratic segregationists.
Biden refused to back down Wednesday after being challenged by Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) for talking about how he worked with segregationist senators he disagreed with in the 1970s. Biden said he didn't have a "racist bone" in his body and Booker should be the one apologizing.
"Apologize for what? Cory should apologize," Biden told reporters. "He knows better. There is not a racist bone in my body. I've been involved in civil rights my whole career, period, period, period."
Melvin told MSNBC contributor and former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.), he was struck by Biden's rejoinder to Booker.
"The response seemed a bit Trumpian. Do we think that Joe Biden has decided to take a page from the president's playbook?" he asked.
"I don't think I'd go that far, and by the way ... Cory's been talked about a whole lot today," she said.
"You're not suggesting that Senator Booker may be using to his political advantage?" Melvin asked sarcastically.
McCaskill said she wasn't sure if he was smart to call for Booker to apologize, but she did believe the former vice president was sincere in thinking he hadn't said anything wrong. She stipulated both men were friends.
Biden has centered his campaign message around being able to defeat President Donald Trump and representing a return to Obama-era politics.
He has been atop the Democratic primary polls since entering the race in April, while Booker has struggled to stay nationally relevant in the crowded field. However, he wasn't the only candidate to condemn Biden's remarks, with Sens. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) among those criticizing Biden on Wednesday.