Though he took a somewhat more muted tone in the first event of his nascent presidential campaign than he is known for, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker was nonetheless recognizable.
“What my neighbors are concerned with and what I’ve heard all around the country is that people in America are losing faith that this nation will work for them,” Booker said. “They’re beginning to believe that too many folks are going to get left out or left behind. They’re beginning to believe that the forces that are tearing us apart are stronger than the forces that bond us together as a people, as a country. I’m running for president because I want to address these issues.”
The theme of love triumphing over hate has been a cornerstone of Booker’s political career, and he has frequently invoked it during the first two years of President Donald Trump’s term.
Friday’s event promises that Booker will not depart from that as he embarks on a campaign for the country’s highest office.
Though, while the plan may bear fruit in the primary election, where Democrats would be well-advised to avoid creating divisions, some questions remain about how that practice will fare when pitted against Trump’s vitriolic campaign style. But Booker indicated that he did not plan to depart from that style even if the president dragged the campaign into the mud.
“Some of the toughest, most heroic people that I admire, whose pictures hang in my office, whose statues are in the capitol, they’re folks that took on armed hate — billy clubs and dogs and fire hoses — with unarmed love, and they took down the corrupt,” Booker said when asked if he was ready to take on Trump
There have already been signs of how Booker might conduct his campaign if he clears the primary field and finds himself facing Trump. He said more than once during Friday’s press conference that he would run a campaign based on issues he supports and not ones he opposes, and he moderated when presented an opportunity to take a shot at Trump, though not completely.
“I don’t know the heart of anybody. I’ll leave that to the Lord,” Booker said when asked if he believed Trump was racist. “I know there are a lot of people who profess the ideology of white supremacy that use his words, and I believe his failure to condemn bigotry and racism, I believe that when he makes comments about African countries, when he challenges, demeans the ability of a federal judge to do their job because of their ancestry, that’s bigoted language.”