MSNBC's Scarborough defends Joe Biden, cites FDR in wake of attacks for working with segregationist senators

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough defended Joe Biden against his own party on "Morning Joe" Thursday, after the 2020 presidential hopeful was criticized for working with segregationist senators.

Biden highlighted his work with Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia during a fundraiser in New York City on Tuesday and said he was able to see past their beliefs for the good of the country.

Scarborough played a clip of Sen. Kamala Harris D-Ca, criticizing Biden's comments and calling them "misinformed and wrong." She also declined to say if Biden should apologize for his remarks.

"First of all, Kamala -- I love Kamala. But Joe Biden didn’t coddle any segregationist in anything that he said. In fact, I think he called one of them one of the meanest people he ever met," Scarborough said.

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He then compared Biden to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and said bipartisanship, in any form, is usually a good thing.

"If that’s coddling, please stay away from me Joe. Don’t hug me, don’t coddle me. That's not coddling. Also, he didn’t speak with adoration about these segregationists," Scarborough continued.

"He picked the people who were the most repugnant to him -- who he disagreed with the most. And he said I could even work with him. Now, who was it that says -- was it Rumsfeld that says, you fight on the battlefield with the enemy that's presented to you...  Well, guess what, FDR -- the brilliance of FDR was he could work with Yankees from New England and he could work with segregationists and racists from the south.

"And you know what happened when FDR did that? He passed Social Security. He passed the New Deal. He saved this country and he saved poor people like my parents. In the deep south, he also saved black Americans."

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Scarborough said history would have changed for the worse if world leaders refused to have dialogues with those they disagreed with. He also said the 60 vote threshold in the Senate is the only way to actually change American policy and is seldom achieved without some type of unpleasantness.

"FDR didn’t sit there and go, 'you know what -- I’m not going to deal with the racists in the south. Eleanor and I are going to just sit here and have tea and we’re going to have radio broadcasts where we speak in self-righteous indignation all day. And we may have a crumpet, too. But the point is I'm not talking with those people because they offend me.' It would have been a pretty bad country if that happened," he said.

"[FDR] also had to deal with the same segregationists as we moved toward World War II to defeat Hitler. You sometimes, to get to 60 votes to change America, you have to deal with people whose views you may find repugnant."

Biden also faced backlash from Sen. Corey Booker D-Nj, who issued a statement saying he was disappointed in the former vice president, and calling on him to make an "immediate apology."  Biden fired back and flipped the script on Booker, demanding an apology of his own.

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“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.”