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Dissension within Biden camp over segregationist comments: report

Kanyu Kisbe
Kanyu Kisbe

There is dissension within the Joe Biden campaign over the — with some aides claiming he “misspoke” and others saying he should’ve just kept his mouth shut, a report says.

Tensions have been running high in recent days as the former vice president and 2020 Democratic hopeful’s team continues to do damage control in the wake of his controversial remarks, according to The Washington Post.

Several aides have rushed to Biden’s defense, the newspaper reports, but some have also admitted that he shouldn’t have even told the story in question.

Others have claimed that the comments — which were made Tuesday night at a fundraiser event in New York City — serve as proof of his ability to work with people he disagrees with, and that they were being used against him “for political gain,” the Post reports.

Biden had been talking about his time working with Democratic Sens. James Eastland and Herman Talmadge – known segregationists – in the 1970s when he began discussing their relationship.

“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden said, before imitating a Southern accent and claiming that the senator “never called me ‘boy’,” which is considered a derogatory term used against black men.

Numerous lawmakers have called Biden out for the statement, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and fellow 2020 hopeful Sen. Cory Booker, who is black.

“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys,’” seethed Booker in a statement Wednesday.

“Men like James O. Eastland used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity,” said the New Jersey seantor. “And frankly, I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an immediate apology for the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans. He should.”

“He just misspoke,” said the one adviser. “The way Biden usually tells the story, he says Eastland didn’t call him ‘senator,’ he called him ‘son.’ Eastland called him ‘boy’ and ‘son’ also. This was Eastland’s way of diminishing young senators.”

“I encouraged campaign staff that I know to say: ‘Don’t back off on this. This is precisely why you’re the right guy in the right place at the right time,’” O’Brien told the Post. “And I was glad to see that he didn’t.”

The Iowan added, “You know that some of the other issues, [Biden’s] got to evolve with the times, which he has…But there are points where you need to make a stand, so I was very glad to see him not back off on this issue.”

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Kanyu Kisbe

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