Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to take heat from his fellow 2020 Democratic presidential primary competitors over his recent remarks on race.
During the first round of primary debates Thursday night, Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) flattened Biden on the debate stage over his record on segregation and his recent comments on race.
As IJR previously reported, Biden was in hot water leading up to the debate after he defended his work with segregationist senators during his years as a legislator. He also made a flippant remark about being called “son” instead of “boy,” a comment that left many questioning Biden’s racial sensitivities.
Harris used this weakness during the debate to call out Biden for his comments and to highlight his opposition to integrated bussing for students in the 1970s, a policy that Harris noted impacted her while growing up, as IJR Blue noted.
While former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) did not share the debate stage with Harris and Biden, they got their chance to join in the fight on Sunday morning.
Both 2020 contenders took swipes at Biden, who was previously considered the clear frontrunner of the crowded field of candidates.
Booker, who also came out hard against Biden’s flippant remarks about segregationists, told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that he doesn’t believe Biden is doing enough to unite the country.
Watch Booker’s remarks:
“I was talking about the vice president’s comments well before the debate where he used words like ‘boy’ in a way that caused a lot of hurt and harm. And I called him out on it. And instead of coming forward and saying, ‘I could have said that better, or let me tell you what I meant,’ he fell into a defensive crouch and tried to reassign blame and said that I should apologize to him. Whoever our nominee is going to be, whoever the next president is going to be, really needs to be someone who can talk openly and honestly about race with vulnerability because none of us are perfect. But really call this country to common ground, to reconciliation. I’m not sure if Vice President Biden is up to that task given the way these last three weeks have played out.”
Booker noted that he thinks Biden is “not doing a good job at bringing folks together.”
Castro made a similar point to Booker’s and questioned whether Biden will be able to adjust his rhetoric in a way that Democrats can get behind.
Watch Castro’s comments:
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 30, 2019
Castro noted that the problems Biden faces today are going to continue to follow him throughout the primary.
“He allowed local communities to make a decision [on bussing integration], essentially relying on states’ rights,” said Castro. “I think he’s going to have to continue to explain why that was a good position.”