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Ocasio-Cortez condemns Biden for ‘waxing nostalgic’ about segregationists



Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned former Vice President Joe Biden after the 2020 candidate pointed to his work with segregationists in the Senate as evidence of his effective approach to political pragmatism and bipartisanship.

The freshman congresswoman suggested Biden’s willingness to work with now-deceased “Dixiecrat” Democratic Sens. Herman Talmadge and James Eastland was evidence of him turning a blind eye to racism.

“If you ignore racism and if you don’t address issues of race with racists, then everything is fine, right?” Ocasio-Cortez told Politico on Wednesday. “That’s how you work with segregationists: By not confronting the racism and their institutionalization of second-class citizenship and a lack of fully recognizing African Americans.”

Biden’s remarks provoked widespread criticism among Democrats, including several 2020 candidates.

Read more: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ignited a firestorm after she spent 3 days calling US migrant detention centers ‘concentration camps’

Ocasio-Cortez also spoke out in defense of Sen. Cory Booker after he sharply criticized Biden’s comments and asked the former vice president to apologize for them.

“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys.’ 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,” Booker said in a statement released early Wednesday. “I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an immediate apology for the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans. He should.”

Asked if he would apologize, Biden replied later that day, “Apologize for what?”

“Cory should apologize,” he went on. “He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period, period, period.”

Ocasio-Cortez then weighed in, tweeting Thursday, “For the record, Cory Booker does *not* owe Joe Biden an apology for pointing out that waxing nostalgic about working with segregationists is insensitive.” She added, “I think it’s important to realize that we can’t risk depressed turnout in 2020. The original remark is valid to ask about & have a discussion on or clarify – not dismiss. We should be compassionate toward each other, but not silent.”

Biden, while speaking with donors on Tuesday night, reminisced about a time when he says the Senate was characterized by civility.

“At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything,” Biden said. “We got things done. 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.”

Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly made her support for Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren known. And she argued in an interview last Sunday that if Democrats fail to nominate a presidential candidate who is “fighting for true transformational change in the lives of working people,” there will be a “very real risk” of re-electing Trump.

The Bronx progressive has been more unequivocal in her condemnation of Biden’s politics in recent months. In May, Ocasio-Cortez called it a “dealbreaker” when reports emerged that Biden’s campaign was taking a “middle ground” approach to combatting global climate change.

“There is no ‘middle ground’ w/ climate denial & delay. Blaming ‘blue collar’ Americans as the main opponents to bold climate policy is gas lobbyist 101,” she tweeted. “We’re not going to solve the climate crisis w/ this lack of leadership. Our kids’ lives are at stake.”

David Choi contributed to this report.

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