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Biden claims he 'literally' persuaded leading Civil Rights Act opponent to support it

Biden's January 2022 remarks saw him conflate the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

Published: August 28, 2023 8:07pm

Updated: August 28, 2023 8:54pm

President Joe Biden on Monday claimed that he convinced former South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond, a leading opponent of the Civil Rights Act, to ultimately support it prior to his death.

"I was able to literally, not figuratively talk Strom Thurmond into voting for the Civil Rights Act before he died. I thought well maybe there's real progress. But hate never dies. It just hides," he said at a reception for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Thurmond filibustered the 1957 Civil Rights Act for 24 hours and 18 minutes, marking the single longest filibuster of any lone Senator in chamber history. He later voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Biden has previously made a similar claim. In January of last year, Biden highlighted Thurmond's vote to extend the Voting Rights Act. He notably did not explicitly claim to have personally convinced Thurmond to extend the the Act.

"In 2006, the Voting Rights Act passed 390 to 33 in the House of Representatives and 98 to 0 in the Senate with votes from 16 current sitting Republicans in this United States Senate. Sixteen of them voted to extend it," he said. "The last year I was chairman, as some of my friends sitting down here will tell you, Strom Thurmond voted to extend the Voting Rights Act. Strom Thurmond."

"You know, when we got voting rights extended in the 1980s, as I’ve said, even Thurmond supported it. Think about that," he added. "The man who led the longest filibu- — one of the longest filibusters in history in the United States Senate in 1957 against the Voting Rights Act [Civil Rights Act]. The man who led and sided with the old Southern Bulls in the United States Senate to perpetuate segregation in this nation.  Even Strom Thurmond came to support voting rights."

Biden's January 2022 remarks also saw him conflate the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

Thurmond filibustered the 1957 Civil Rights Act, opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and opposed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 1982, as Biden claimed, Thurmond voted to extend a section of the Voting Rights Act for 25 years, the New York Times reported at the time.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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