Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Thursday that Sen. Cory Booker does not need to apologize to Joe Biden after the New Jersey Senator criticized the former vice president's controversial comments about working with segregationist senators during his early years on Capitol Hill.
Booker on Wednesday had asked Biden to apologize for praising his work with former Democratic Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia during a fundraiser at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, both of who fought against the civil rights movement and opposed the racial integration of schools.
Biden, however, said that Booker "knows better" and should be the one to apologize. The former vice president added that he doesn't "have a racist bone on my body."
Ocasio-Cortez, who has been critical of Biden, weighed in on the debate on Thursday.
"For the record, Cory Booker does *not* owe Joe Biden an apology for pointing out that waxing nostalgic about working with segregationists is insensitive," she tweeted.
"'He knows better?' Really? What is 'better?' To stay quiet about it?" she wrote.
More: Biden: Booker should apologize after criticism of my comments on segregationists
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Ocasio-Cortez also warned that voter turnout in the 2020 election could be harmed by Biden's comments. Many of the Democratic wins in the 2018 midterms were driving by black voters, particularly black women, according to analysis from the NAACP.
"For folks saying we should gloss over this, I think it's important to realize that we can't risk depressed turnout in 2020," she wrote in a second tweet.
"The original remark is valid to ask about & have a discussion on or clarify - not dismiss. We should be compassionate toward each other, but not silent," she continued.
Biden's comments defending his stance on civil rights came on Wednesday, which was Juneteenth - a day marked in many states and by African Americans across the country commemorating June 19, 1865, when blacks in Galveston, Texas, learned they were no longer slaves, almost two years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
A number of top lawmakers that are part of the Congressional Black Caucus have defended Biden, POLITICO reported.
Ocasio-Cortez has previously criticized Biden for his "middle-of-the-road approach" on climate change, for his previous support of the Hyde Amendment, and believes that only a true progressive candidate could beat Trump. Biden has repeatedly touted as being moderate and working with both sides of the aisle, while maintaining that he is progressive.
Despite her criticisms, Ocasio-Cortez has said she would support Biden if he was the nominee during an interview on ABC's "This Week." She added that she still thinks the candidate that is picked as the Democratic nominee is "going to be exciting to vote for, that all people, women, people of all genders, races, income levels, geographies feel excited and good about voting for."
"I think that it is absolutely important that we defeat Donald Trump," she said.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ocasio-Cortez on Biden segregationist comments: Booker doesn't need to apologize to Biden