Democratic 2020 hopefuls have been piling on Biden for boasting his ability to work with two former Democratic senators, who were outspoken segregationists while speaking broadly about the importance of "civility" in order to get things done in Washington D.C. Biden has remained defiant and dismissed the calls for him to apologize.
During an interview Friday morning on MSNBC, Gillibrand was asked if she agreed with Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, who ignited the demands for the former vice president to apologized.
"I do," Gillibrand responded.
The New York senator admitted she "shouldn't be that hard" on Biden, but stressed the significance of his remarks.
"What this is about is we have a president who's been spewing hate and division, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism constantly as president," Gillibrand explained. "And so we need a Democratic leader and a presidential nominee who is going to understand that the kind of language that we use around issues of race actually matter. So it shouldn't be that hard."
Gillibrand is now one of several 2020 candidates who have condemned Biden's remarks, including Booker, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT.
Booker's comment earlier this week, where he said he was surprised Biden had not already apologized, during a rebuke from the former vice president.
“Cory should apologize,” Biden said in response on Wednesday. “He knows better. Not a racist bone in my body. I've been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period.”
While none of his critics – including some of his top rivals for the nomination – are questioning Biden’s decades-long efforts to battle racism and strengthen civil rights, they are questioning whether the 76-year-old candidate is in tune with the Democratic Party of 2019. And the big question on the minds of many – will this unforced error put a dent in Biden’s aura of electability, which is a major factor in his current standing far ahead of the rest of the historically large field of some two-dozen Democratic White House hopefuls.