Cory Booker, New Jersey senator and 2020 contender, said Sunday that Joe Biden has made it clear he isn’t ‘up to the task’ to take on race issues in America.
‘Whoever our nominee is going to be – whoever the next president is going to be – really has to be someone that can talk openly and honestly about race with vulnerability because none of us are perfect,’ Booker told Meet the Press Sunday morning.
‘But really call this country to common ground to reconciliation,’ he continued of the ideal candidate. ‘I’m not sure if Vice President Biden is up to that task, given how these last three weeks have played out.’
Booker, one of the two black candidates running in the 2020 Democratic primary race, hit at the former vice president for recent comments he made defending segregationist lawmakers he previously worked with and his past stances on opposing bussing.
Sen. Cory Booker said former Vice President Joe Biden isn’t up to the task to take on race issues in the U.S. if he were to become the Democratic nominee in 2020
Booker said Biden handled the situation wrong during the debate Thursday, and should have admitted his past mistakes regarding on work with segregationists and opposing bussing to integrate public schools
Harris (right) challenged Biden (left) over his comments about segregationist lawmakers as well as his record on the issue of desegregating schools. She shared her personal story about being bussed to school in California growing up
Harris’s campaign posted a photo of her as a young girl, tweeting about how she was a product of bussing
The 50-year-old senator said Biden handled the situation wrong and should have admitted his past mistakes instead of going on the defense.Se
‘What we’ve seen from the vice president over the last month is an inability to talk candidly about the mistakes he made,’ Booker told NBC host Chuck Todd – who co-moderated the first round of Democrat debates this week.
‘And this is a bad culture where you can’t admit mistakes, where you can’t speak to your vulnerabilities and your imperfections – we’ve all had them,’ he continued.
During a New York fundraiser this month, Biden talked fondly about working with segregationist lawmakers James Eastland and Herman E. Talmadge early on in his political career.
His comments, and his past voting record on opposing bussing in order to integrate public schools in America, became the center of discussion on the debate stage Thursday night in Miami.
During the second night of debates, California Senator Kamala Harris confronted Biden about the comments.
‘But I also believe – and it’s personal, and I was actually very – it was hurtful, to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country,’ Harris said when confronting the former vice president.
Donald Trump Jr (left) on Thursday retweeted – and then deleted – a tweet that claimed Harris (right) ‘is not an American Black’ but rather is ‘half Indian and half Jamaican’
Donald Trump Jr. publicly wondered if the information was true, but his spokesperson said he deleted the tweet after people misinterpreted his intentions
Harris’s mother Shymala Gopala (left) is from India and her father Donald Harris (right) is Jamaican
The senator also emotionally shared her personal experience with bussing when growing up in California.
‘And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing,’ she continued.
‘And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,’ Harris said. ‘And that little girl was me.’
In responding to the criticism from Harris, Biden claimed the comments he made were taken out of context and said it was a ‘mischaracterization’ to say he was against integrating schools by way of bussing.
President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., suggested on Twitter that Harris is not ‘black enough’ to discuss race relations in America.
A far-right personality on Twitter, Ali Alexander, wrote that Harris is ‘not an American Black.’
Booker defended Harris’ race, saying she doesn’t have to prove her blackness
‘Kamala Harris doesn’t have s**t to prove,’ he tweeted on Saturday
‘She is half Indian and half Jamaican,’ he tweeted. ‘I’m so sick of people robbing American Blacks (like myself) of our history. It’s disgusting. Now using it for debate time.’
Alexander’s tweet has gone viral and been widely shared by conservative Twitter users.
Don Jr retweeted – and later deleted – the tweet from Alexander, commenting: ‘Is this true? Wow.’
Harris’ mother is from India and her father is Jamaican.
Booker responded to the attacks on Harris.
‘Kamala Harris doesn’t have s••t to prove,’ Booker said in defending the fellow senator.
A spokesperson for Don Jr told the New York Times: ‘Don’s tweet was simply him asking if it was true that Kamala Harris was half-Indian because it’s not something he had ever heard before and once he saw that folks were misconstruing the intent of his tweet, he quickly deleted it.’
Harris’s campaign denounced the tweet, saying it was racist and comparing it to the birther movement which claimed that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
‘This is the same type of racist attacks his father used to attack Barack Obama,’ a spokesperson for Harris told The Daily Beast when asked about Don Jr’s tweet.
‘It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.’
‘So, I will tell you that on this subject it can not be an intellectual debate among Democrats,’ Harris said during the debate. ‘We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly.”
Earlier this month, Biden told a fundraiser in New York that he had good working relationships with the late Senators James Eastland of Mississippi (left) and Henry Talmadge of Georgia (right) – two men known for pro-segregation views
Harris’s campaign compared Don Jr’s tweets to his father’s attacks on Barack Obama (right) – a reference to the birther movement which claimed that the 44th president was not born in the United States