A newly unearthed clip of Joe Biden shows the then-senator referring to members of a female Confederacy group as “fine people” during a 1993 Senate hearing.
During the Senate confirmation hearing for then-Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Biden, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, made a surprising comment about the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), an organization committed to preserving Confederate statues with ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
Biden began his remarks by referring to a speech made on the Senate floor by Sen. Howell Heflin (D-Ala.), who was speaking in support of efforts by Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) to deny renewal of a Confederate flag design patent to the UDC.
“I, too, heard that speech and, for the public listening to this, the senator made a very moving and eloquent speech. As a son of the Confederacy, acknowledging that it was time to change and yield to a position that Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun raised on the Senate floor, not granting a federal charter to an organization made up of many fine people who continue to display the Confederate flag as a symbol,” he said during the 1993 hearing.
“The charter would have given them the right, the imprimatur of the federal government to do that. It had nothing to do with the First Amendment, Judge, so don’t worry. But the senator made a very significant speech rivaled only, in my view, by a private speech given to me personally by a man whose office I now occupy, Sen. John Stennis from Mississippi,” Biden continued.
In the moments after the resurfaced clip ends, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against renewing the design patent, which comes up for reauthorization every 14 years.
Reached by The Post for comment, Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates pointed to a tweet of his where he writes, “You don’t want to bring up the phrase ‘fine people’ in any context.”
The “fine people” quip is a reference to President Trump’s comments in response to the 2017 protest that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The commander-in-chief was widely slammed for his remarks during an August 2017 press conference in which he referred to some of those protesting and counter-protesting — including white nationalists — as “very fine people on both sides.”
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs?” the president remarked at the time.
“I watched that very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now,” the president said.
“You look at both sides. I think there is blame on both sides. I have no doubt about it,” Trump said. “You also had some very fine people on both sides.”
When Biden launched his 2020 campaign, he led with the issue of Charlottesville, arguing in his first TV ad that “we are in a battle for the soul of this nation.”
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