Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) declined Monday to condemn Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for calling on the public to “harass” members of the Trump administration — but said that people should confront them “with love.”
Booker, a possible Democratic presidential contender in 2020, spoke to MSNBC’s Andrew Mitchell from McAllen, Texas, where many illegal immigrants have been detained — and many politicians have been making pilgrimages:
Mitchell: Do you support that kind of appeal, to tell people, people like [White House press secretary] Sarah Sanders, for instance, at the restaurant, but in particular what Maxine Waters said, to tell anyone from the Cabinet, “You’re not welcome,” and confront them?
Booker: So first of all, I subscribe to an ideal of radical love — the kind that my parents taught me, participants in the civil rights movement — that, yes, you should protest. Yes, you should confront evil and injustice. But do it in the ways that Martin Luther King did, and Fred Shuttlesworth did, and other great leaders, who always did it by recognizing the dignity of even those who you oppose, even those who are trying to destroy you, even those that hate you. And so I worry in our country right now, that we’re descending to a hatred of American hating American, that is not going to solve our problems. I call on all of America not to sit comfortably and be bystanders to the injustices that are going on, when it comes to this immigration system, the injustices of separation of families that are going on, of separating American children through our broken criminal justice system that has thousands of children right now, incarcerated in the United States of America, who haven’t even had a trial yet. I think we all should be not sitting comfortably, idly by, while these moral outrages are going on, and we should protest. But we have to get to a point in our country where we can talk to each other, where we are all seeking a more beloved community. And some of those tactics that people are advocating for, to me, don’t reflect that spirit. And so, yes, if I saw an administrator in a, out and about, there’s nothing wrong with confronting that person. But not to lead with love, and to do it in a way that is more reflective of the values that we are trying to reject in our country is unacceptable to me. Let’s elevate those tactics from people that we hail in our nation, from Gandhi to King, and reflect those values in our urgent protests, in our urgent activism, but always leading with love in our country.
Mitchell: Well, that’s a good note on which to leave it. Thank you.
Booker never explained what confronting “with love” would mean, nor did he disagree with confronting Trump administration officials in restaurants.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.