Image: via Getty

On Tuesday—not just any Tuesday, but on the eve of Juneteenth, of all days—Joe Biden gave a speech at a fundraiser about James O. Eastland, a Mississippi senator and unrepentant segregationist who, despite devoting his career to doing everything he could to prevent racial integration, did so with “civility” and also never called Biden “boy.”

Invoking, even inadvertently, a racial epithet to praise a racist is at best tactless, at worst deeply offensive. The comment sparked some pushback, particularly from Cory Booker, who released a statement asking Biden to apologize. But Biden won’t. You apologize, Cory! Biden doesn’t have a racist bone in his body!

At least that’s what he told reporters on Wednesday:

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Please note that Booker did not actually accuse Biden of being racist, but merely pointed out that “[m]en like [Sen.] James O. Eastland [(D-Miss.)] used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity,” and that Biden might want to acknowledge this misstep.

But Biden is not very good at learning lessons, nor at considering how his casual words and/or actions might hurt those with different lived experiences. Booker, please apologize for not making this particular consideration.

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