Civil rights chief John Lewis defended former vp Joe Biden on Friday, saying he didn’t think about the presidential contender invoking previous work with segregationist senators as offensive.
Biden waded right into a firestorm this week when he used his relationships within the Senate with recognized segregationists as examples of how he may work throughout the aisle. The feedback drew the ire of many Democrats, together with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a fellow 2020 presidential candidate, who mentioned he thought Biden was being thoughtless about how painful that point was for black People.
However Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Georgia and one of many authentic Freedom Riders who was overwhelmed and jailed due to his activism, supported Biden’s place.
“I don’t suppose the remarks are offensive,” Lewis informed reporters, recounting the vary of unsavory folks he has labored shoulder to shoulder with. “Through the peak of the civil rights motion, we labored with folks and bought to know those that had been members of the Klan — individuals who opposed us, even individuals who beat us and arrested us and jailed us.
“We by no means gave up on our fellow human beings, and I can’t hand over on any human being,” Lewis added.
Biden has rejected calls to apologize for saying that when he labored with segregationists, “at the least there was some civility,” and that one of many senators known as him “son” and by no means “boy.”
Lewis shouldn’t be the primary black lawmaker to help Biden this week. In truth, probably the most outstanding members of the Congressional Black Caucus largely defended Biden’s level.
Home Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking African American in Congress, famous his personal work with the late senator Strom Thurmond, additionally a segregationist.
“You don’t should agree with folks to work with them,” he mentioned.
However Lewis, one of many final residing icons of the Civil Rights period, is an particularly highly effective advocate for Biden on the finish of a tough week for his marketing campaign.