Newly resurfaced remarks from an interview in 1975 apparently directly contradict former Vice President and 2020 Democrat candidate Joe Biden’s claims to have “never, ever opposed voluntary busing.”
Biden, who has faced growing backlash over a series of race-related remarks and decisions made throughout his lengthy political career, appeared to show his support for a constitutional amendment ending the controversial policy of “busing” in the 1970s.
During Thursday night’s Democratic primary debate, Biden and 2020 rival Kamala Harris sparred over the former Vice President’s previous remarks on issues such as bussing, as well as his associations with segregationists during his career.
From The Hill:
NPR resurfaced a 1975 interview with then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) in which he voiced support for a constitutional amendment to end court-ordered busing of black students to predominantly white schools.
“That would clearly do it. We are trying to figure out whether or not we can come up with an innovative piece of legislation which would limit the remedy and I honestly don’t know whether we can come up with something constitutional,” Biden said when asked about an amendment. “I’m going to go at it through a constitutional amendment if it can’t be done through a piece of legislation.
Biden suggested at the time that liberals were having a knee-jerk reaction to supporting busing as a method of school integration simply because racists were against it.
“I think that part of the reason why much of this has not developed, much of the change has not developed, is because it has been an issue that has been in the hands of the racist,” Biden said, “and we liberals have out-of-hand rejected it because, if George Wallace is for it, it must be bad. And so we haven’t really looked at it. Now there’s a confluence of streams. There is academic ferment against it — not majority, but academic ferment against it. There are young blacks and young white leaders against it.”
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding the resurfaced comments.
The 1975 interview’s resurfacing comes a day after Biden clashed with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at the first presidential primary debate for his past comments on busing and remarks about working with two segregationist senators while he was in Congress.
“I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground,” Harris told Biden Thursday night. “But I also believe, and it’s personal and I was actually very — it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.”
“On this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats, we have to take it seriously, we have to act swiftly,” she added before discussing busing.
Biden defended himself Friday during a speech in Chicago Friday, saying that “I fought my heart out to ensure that civil rights and voting rights, equal rights are enforced everywhere” and that he “never, ever opposed voluntary busing.”