Several Democratic candidates criticize Biden over comments on past Senate civility


Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 20, 2019: Several Democratic candidates criticized Joe Biden’s (D) comments on civility in referencing two former Senate colleagues who opposed desegregation efforts. The chairwoman of the RNC stated that Donald Trump (R) raised $24.8 million toward his reelection in one day.

Notable Quotes of the Day

“Establishment and moderate Democrats haven’t necessarily been won over to [Elizabeth] Warren’s camp yet — many still point to former Vice President Joe Biden as their preferred candidate. But the tensions that once marked Warren’s relationship with moderate Democrats have begun to dissipate as she methodically lays out her agenda and shows a folksier, more accessible side that wasn’t always apparent in her role as a blue-state senator and progressive icon.”

—Natasha Korecki and Charlie Mahtesian, Politico

“[T]he starkest apparent point of contrast [between Warren and Bernie Sanders] lies in how the two candidates describe themselves ideologically. Sanders calls himself a socialist; Elizabeth Warren identifies as a capitalist. The two ideologies, as traditionally conceived, are, on paper, diametrically opposed. You either believe that the productive constituent parts of the economy should be controlled by workers themselves or the state or you do not.”

—Osita Nwanevu, The New Yorker


  • Politico published a piece on Michael Bennet‘s proposals to reform lobbying, campaign finance, and redistricting and his support for ranked choice voting.
  • On Wednesday, several Democratic candidates criticized Joe Biden for remarks he made about civility in the Senate during his time in the chamber. Biden said he worked with former Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.), with whom he often disagreed, to get things done. Bill de BlasioCory BookerKamala HarrisBernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren criticized Biden for mentioning his work with the former senators, who opposed desegregation efforts. Biden responded, “There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period.”
  • Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, said the union planned to launch ad campaigns in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina supporting Bill de Blasio.
  • Booker added four new members to his South Carolina campaign staff.
  • New Hampshire TV station WMUR9 announced that Steve Bullock will participate in an interview on CloseUp Sunday morning.
  • Pete Buttigieg appeared on local station WNDU to discuss an officer-involved shooting in South Bend, Indiana, that took place Sunday. Buttigieg canceled campaign events this week to remain in South Bend following the shooting.
  • Julián Castro released the final part of his three-part housing plan, saying the plan—called “People First Housing”—would “help more families realize the dream of homeownership and…boost oversight of Wall Street’s housing practices to ensure more families can stay in their homes.”
  • In a CNN interviewJohn Delaney criticized Trump by saying he is invoking executive privilege to stonewall an investigation by Congress.
  • WMUR9 reported that Kirsten Gillibrand will campaign in all 10 New Hampshire counties from July 3-9. This would be the longest visit to the “first-in-the-nation” primary state by any candidate thus far, according to WMUR.
  • Mike Gravel published a piece on Mondoweiss—a website featuring news and commentary on Palestine, Israel, and the U.S.—entitled, “The two-state solution is dead. Let us take the obvious and humane path forward.”
  • Harris introduced a bill in the Senate called the 21st Century SKILLS Act, which would fund workforce training for eligible Americans at amounts of $4,000 to $8,000 depending on employment status and income level.
  • John Hickenlooper discussed socialism, gun policy, and climate change in an interview on MSNBC.
  • Jay Inslee discussed his support for paid family leave at a roundtable at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
  • Amy Klobuchar talked about mental health care and addiction treatment on NBC’s Nightly News.
  • Seth Moulton participated in the High School Democrats of America’s monthly committee call Wednesday.
  • Beto O’Rourke published a piece entitled, “From Juneteenth to today, Americans are still on the march for justice” in USA Today.
  • Sanders commented on a Politico article entitled “Warren emerges as potential compromise nominee” with the following tweet: “The cat is out of the bag. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly ‘anybody but Bernie.’”
  • Eric Swalwell is meeting with the Alabama Young Democrats in Birmingham today.
  • Warren said in a statement shared with The Washington Post that she was open to decriminalizing sex work.
  • Marianne Williamson said on ABC News’ Start Here podcast that she supports reparations over other policies because “[i]t is an inherent acknowledgement of a wrong that has been done, of a debt that is owed, and a willingness to pay it.”
  • Andrew Yang discussed automation, technology, and the economy on Boston’s WBUR show Here & Now, saying, “I want to become the next president to start solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in 2016.”


  • Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated that Donald Trump raised $24.8 million toward his reelection in less than 24 hours amid his official campaign kickoff Tuesday. Trump raised $30.3 million during the firstquarter of the year, from January 1 through the end of March.
  • New Hampshire TV station WMUR9 announced that Bill Weld will participate in an interview on CloseUp Sunday morning.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 20, 2015

Several Republican primary candidates commented on whether the Confederate flag should be removed from outside the South Carolina Statehouse three days after the shooting deaths of nine African Americans by a white gunman at a church in Charleston. The Associated Press published the following statements:  

Jeb Bush: “In Florida we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.”  

Scott Walker: “I think they’re going to have a good, healthy debate—and should have a healthy debate in South Carolina amongst officials at the state level.”

Lindsey Graham said the flag “is a part of who we are” and was open to discussion about whether to use it.

Carly Fiorina said the flag symbolized racial hatred but did not call for its removal, saying, “personal opinion is not what’s relevant here.”

Ted Cruz said South Carolina didn’t need “people from outside of the state coming in and dictating how they should resolve it.”