New York mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio sharply criticized former vice president Joe Biden in tweets Wednesday for remarks Biden made at a Tuesday fundraiser praising two segregationist former senators for their “civility.”
The New York Times reported Biden reflected upon serving in the Senate with fellow Democrats James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, who were both avowed segregationists, and said that while he disagreed with them he missed the level of civility they brought to the chamber.
“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.”
The New York Times described Eastland as “a plantation owner,” who “was known as a vociferous opponent of integration efforts and a staunch critic of the civil rights movement.”
De Blasio, whose wife is African-American, blasted the former vice president for offering words of admiration for Eastland. The mayor said Biden’s words exemplify “that he is out of step with the values of the modern Democratic Party.”
It’s past time for apologies or evolution from @JoeBiden. He repeatedly demonstrates that he is out of step with the values of the modern Democratic Party. (2/2)
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) June 19, 2019
De Blasio’s response to Biden comes as the former vice president also faces criticism from his party for his past positions on immigration, criminal justice, and abortion rights.
Biden and de Blasio have both qualified for the first round of Democratic presidential primary debates later in June but will not share the debate stage, as de Blasio will participate in the first night’s debate alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), while Biden will appear with other frontrunners such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg.
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