Wednesday on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” 2020 presidential Democratic presidential hopeful, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized former Vice President Joe Biden for discussing “civility” while he worked with segregationist senators.
De Blasio said, “It is entirely personal for me. I think it’s personal for millions and millions of Americans when they hear this. My wife is African-American. We have two beautiful children. James Eastland literally thought my wife and I should not have the legal right to marry, that those children should not exist, and our children should not be on this earth. That’s how personal it is for me. That’s how personal it is for my wife, Cherlain. When you hear that from someone who wants to be the standard barrier of our party, it makes you ask on earth, how does he not understand what people are feeling today? James Eastland used to get away with it, and all that “civility” somehow allowed an overt segregationist to continue in his role as a committee chairman in the Senate, a man of great importance and responsibility even though he blatantly wanted to see discrimination against tens of millions of Americans. It could not be more personal for so many of us. So I think the bottom line is why on earth would a Democratic speak nostalgically of a segregationist?”
He continued, “I’m sorry, in that comment was a sense of, oh, we used to be able to work it out, we used to be able to make things happen, why don’t we go back to that. What is unacceptable is to invoke someone who did so much harm. Eastland helped to perpetuate segregation. A lot of the same things we are still trying to overcome in terms of economic injustice, legal injustice to this day. So my problem is I want our candidate to be someone who is in touch with today’s Democratic Party, the reality of today’s America. I respect his public service. I don’t know, Chuck, how on earth he could have used that example. He was saying we could work with these guys. Well, you know what? Today I would say a lot of us couldn’t work with a segregationist. It doesn’t matter if they’re nice or not.”
He added, “It’s not an attack when Joe Biden who wants to be our nominee says something that’s very hurtful to millions and millions of people including millions of people who are the backbone of our party. And I think the place this takes us, Chuck, is to say what are we going to be? Are we the party of the status quo? Is that what Democrats want again?”
He concluded, “I’ve been 100% clear. I would support Joe Biden if he were the nominee, but the question is who should be the nominee, what is our party about today, and how are we going to beat Donald Trump? If we are the party of status quo, we lose.”
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