Booker: Bigotry That Passes Through Trump’s Lips ‘Incites White Supremacists’

Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Cork Booker (D-NJ) accused President Donald Trump’s of inciting “white supremacists.”

Partial transcript as follows:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You have made it pretty clear you think President Trump is on the wrong side of the — of this fight.

Does that hold for his supporters too? And I guess my question is, how do you call out President Trump on the issue of white supremacy and racism without alienating his supporters?

BOOKER: Well, that’s, I guess, really what I’ve been trying to say. This impotent simplicity of who is and who isn’t a racist is really not the question. If we have racism in our country and we’re all in this together and we believe that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, what are you doing about that injustice? If you — it’s not enough to say I’m not a racist in America. If racism exists, you need to be anti-racist. Same with anti-Semitism. I can’t sit idly by if my Jewish brothers and sisters are facing that kind of violence and that kind of evil. We are all in this together. And so if these issues exist –

STEPHANOPOULOS: So if you’re — if you’re — if someone is supporting President Trump they’re not anti-racist?

BOOKER: No, I’m not — I’m not saying that. And again, this is the kind of slicing and dicing that often tries to pit us against each other. If we have a nation where someone doesn’t feel comfortable, where someone is — could be a victim of a violent attack — and remember, white supremacy and white supremacist attacks are on the rise. The majority of our terrorist attacks in this country since 9/11 have been white — right-wing extremist groups or white supremacist groups. And so if this kind of strains exist in our society, we all — all Americans should say this is not who we are and we have something to do about it.

Remember, King said more eloquently to me — he said what you have to repent for in this day and age is not just the vitriolic words and violent actions of the bad people, it’s the appalling silence and inaction of the good people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does the government need more —

BOOKER: That’s my point.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does the government need more tools to take this on as well?

BOOKER: Absolutely. I mean, look at what we did in response to radical as the president says, radical Islamic terrorism. We have moved hundreds of billions of dollars to deal with those terrorist threats coming from abroad. And now we see that, as I said, the majority of our terrorist threats coming — homegrown right-wing extremist, white supremacists. Are we doing that same thing to deal with this? We have a lot more to do at Homeland Security, FBI, a lot more resources we need to bring to bear to make our synagogues safe, to make our nightclubs safe, to make our shopping centers and Wal-Marts safe from this kind of active terrorism.

And the problem we have is in the White House is not somebody who’s stepping up and saying we’re going to deal with this, put the resources, energy — we have somebody who is actually adding to it, who is contributing to this kind of divisiveness and these kind of dark forces in our nation through his own rhetoric, through the way he talks about Americans, through the bigotry that passes through his lips that incites white supremacists to literally use his language in their chat rooms to further activate this kind of hate.

We have so much work to do in a — in this nation on these issues and we have a president who is failing us through everything he’s doing and worse than that, he’s contributing to the problem.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re in Iowa. Most of the Democratic candidates are there this week. Got to ask you a political question. The latest poll coming out shows you’re down to one percent in Iowa from three percent back in April, according the Monmouth poll. How do you break out of the bottom of the pack? Is the clock ticking for you?

BOOKER: Well, I’m — I’m actually surprised that these small polls where the margin of error is so high is capturing so much attention when history shows that the polls aren’t predictive. The kind of things that are predictive is where (ph) we’re leading — we’re leading on endorsements from Iowa state legislatures, we’re leading on endorsements from mayors and city council people. More than that, we’re building an organization that folks around here, from Des Moines register to others say the best organizations on the ground are mine and Senator Warren’s.

You know this from past polls and people like John Kerry won — he was polling at four percent and won Iowa. So we are very confident in how we’re doing. We’re getting big crowds at our events. We’re getting tons of people to sign commitment to caucus cards and we still have six months to go. This is still a long way out. As a guy who used to play football, I call this is August double days before we even get to preseason games. This is a long way to go before we get to the — the — the game time, so to speak. Now we’re doing the work to build a winning campaign here in Iowa and I believe we will win.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We will be watching as you head to game time. Senator Cory Booker, thanks very much for your time this morning.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.