Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.) kicked off his “Justice for All Tour” Saturday in Newark, a two-week trip that will take the presidential hopeful to Iowa, Georgia and Nevada.
Booker’s first speech in his presidential campaigns’ first nationwide tour highlighted a laundry list of liberal priorities ranging from criminal justice reform to climate change to economic inequality as the New Jersey Democrat seeks to underline his progressive bona fides.
“We’re here today to seek justice. We’re here today because we are impatient for that justice. And our sense of moral urgency, our impatience, comes from the most demanding of all values, it comes from love. Love of our families, love of our communities, love of our country and love of each other,” he said at the speech’s start.
Casting himself as a unifier, Booker portrayed himself as America’s candidate who will fight to improve lives for communities beyond his hometown of Newark, where he served as Mayor.
“I learned right here on these streets that you can’t make progress by dividing people. You can’t make progress by stoking fear or setting us one against the other. I learned that the only way to overcome the really tough challenges is by extending grace, finding common ground and working together,” Booker said.
“Farm communities and factory towns that like us here in Newark have been given up on and talked down to, counted out and underestimated. And they can’t wait for change. None of us can. We are here today to say, ‘we can’t wait.’”
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Booker proceeded to prescribe a litany of progressive policy solutions to solve Americans’ woes, including “empower[ing] the formerly incarcerated with jobs and opportunity,” passing universal background checks on gun sales and banning assault rifles, creating “a clean-energy economy” and “with lowering the age of Medicare eligibility and giving Americans a real public option.”
The New Jersey Democrat also took aim at President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, hammering the president as a divisive force who enables white supremacists.
“Unlike this president, I won’t ignore or give license to white supremacy. I will put more resources towards protecting our country from it and we will no longer wait for America to stand up for justice around the world. We will strengthen our alliances and defend human rights, not coddle dictators or squander America’s moral authority,” Booker said.
“We know that there are forces at work at home and abroad trying to get us to fight the wrong way and on their terms. From 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the Kremlin, we know what their strategy is, it’s to put us against each other for their own gain. To make us suspicious of one another, to make us fear each other, dislike each other, to make us hate each other. That’s how they win.”
Booker is running a packed Democratic primary field of well over a dozen candidates. Though he entered the race with high name recognition, he has consistently found himself in the middle of the pack in terms of national and statewide polling and fundraising hauls for 2019’s first quarter, finding him consistently behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).
He sought Saturday to differentiate himself by noting his inner-city roots, suggesting he was more in touch with low-income citizens’ needs than other candidates.
“Look, I am the only senator who comes home to a low-income, inner city, beautiful community,” he said.
“I learned right here on these streets that you can’t make progress by dividing people. You can’t make progress by stoking fear or setting us one against the other. I learned that the only way to overcome the really tough challenges is by extending grace, finding common ground and working together.”