Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked questions about Breitbart News during a press conference Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, saying he didn’t know who Andrew Breitbart was but that it was “fantastic” that the founder of Breitbart News was a pioneer of citizen journalism.
During the question and answer portion of the press conference, Breitbart News asked about the outrage from Democrats and even some Republicans over President Donald Trump comparing the Democrats’ ongoing behind-closed-doors impeachment investigation to a political lynching.
As Breitbart News reported, Democrats have used the term many times, including during the impeachment of Bill Clinton and as recently concerning the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s scandals while serving as secretary of state.
Breitbart News asked Booker about the double standard, but the senator, who held the press conference as part of his campaign to win the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, inquired about Breitbart News, which led to the following exchange:
“What is this Bart that is bright? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it,” Booker said.
The Breitbart News reporter explained it was named after the founder of Breitbart News, Andrew Breitbart.
“Oh really? I didn’t know that,” Booker said. “And who was Andrew?”
The reporter explained that Breitbart was a pioneer in citizen journalism.
“Oh that’s fantastic,” Booker said.
But when Breitbart News asked the lynching question, Booker was no longer in a jovial mood.
“Really quickly back to the lynching question. Since Trump tweeted, there’s been a lot of outrage expressed. There’s also been a lot of reporting on Democrats that have used that term over and over, when Bill Clinton was being impeached and other times. Can you comment on that?” Breitbart News asked.
“I don’t know if you know this, but there have been a lot of Democratic racists in the past,” Booker said.
“And I’m not talking about people who have used that word in recent history. I’m going back to George Wallace and the like. And if every time we call out Donald Trump for behavior and the first response is, ‘Look at the Democrat,’ that’s not gonna solve the problem,” Booker said.
“He is the president of the United States of America. Words matter. And excusing him because some Democrat used the same word?” Booker said.
“We weren’t taught those morals on the playground for crying out loud. Leadership is about accepting responsibility for your actions. And he uses language that divides, demeans, and degrades on a regular basis,” Booker said.
“Have Democrats used language that divide, demean, and degrade? Yeah.” Booker said.
“But he is the president of the United States. And so do I have a level of accountability for him?” Booker said. “Absolutely.”
“And at a time when people are trying to score political points by dividing us along racial lines. At a time that I have journalists come up to me and tell me about their spouse — this one journalist said to me that their spouse was crying the other day because they’re afraid to speak Spanish in public,” Booker said.
“At a time that a president can’t condemn white supremacists or even say at a time that the majority of our terrorist attacks since 9/11 have been right-wing terrorist attacks, the majority of them white supremacy attacks. And our president isn’t willing to recognize that as a problem?” Booker continued.
“It should hurt every American — Democrat or Republican — that we’re tearing each other apart, tearing each other down,” Booker said.
“This president is complicit; this president is responsible; this president is adding to a climate that’s not only dangerous and creating less safety in our country, but he is inciting division and hate,” Booker said.
“So don’t point out to me as an excuse for his behavior other Democrats. This is a moment where we need some sacred honor,” Booker said.
“God, you know what? We need a new president. And I’m going to tell you this. Because I know some of my Republican colleagues who are so honorable. Who find his words repugnant,” Booker said.
“There were people who were willing to say it yesterday, that he used the wrong words. They understand the damage that it causes,” Booker said.
“America — we are tearing each other apart. And as a guy that has privilege to read classified documents. The last time I went to the SCIFs [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities] in the Senate — you know what I was reading? I was reading intelligence reports about what the Russians are doing to undermine our republic,” Booker said.
“And God I wish I could have ripped a couple pages out and brought them into the public. Because one of their strategies — I saw in detail — is to make us hate each other, is to pour gasoline on the lines that divide and hope they tear us apart,” Booker said.
“I hear echoes [of] Khrushchev, who said that this country would not take us down tank for tank, or battleship for battleship,” Booker said referring to the former Soviet Union-era dictator, Nikita Khrushchev. “His theory was that America would crumple from within.”
“And we have a president right now who is making those words more real and scary than they’ve ever been in my lifetime,” Booker said.
“Republicans and Democrats, we know better than this. And we can’t allow it or excuse it, or else we are complicit in that as well,” Booker said.
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