FACT CHECK — Cory Booker: Trump ‘Couldn’t Condemn Nazis’

Cory Booker (Ethan Miller / Getty)

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) claimed, falsely, in an interview Tuesday on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews that Trump “couldn’t condemn Nazis.”

Fact check: FALSE.

Matthews set Booker up with the question: “The guy who did the shooting down in New Zealand cited our president in his manifesto.

Booker responded:

Yeah. but it’s not only hate in New Zealand. We have hate groups here. We have hate leaders, David Duke and others that see him as their president. Here’s a guy that couldn’t condemn Nazis, whose bigoted language from the time of the campaign — talk about pulling the race card. He came down that escalator and started talking about Mexicans and Muslims, started talking about the divisions in America.

As noted by Breitbart News, Trump condemned Nazis several times, and also disavowed David Duke several times, though the media and other Democrats continue to claim otherwise.

Booker seemed to be referring to a common misconception, perpetuated by CNN and others, that Trump referred to violent neo-Nazis who rioted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 as “very fine people.”

In fact, Trump was referring to peaceful protesters who had gathered to demonstrate against the removal of a Confederate statue, as well as to the peaceful protesters who opposed the neo-Nazis. He specifically excluded the neo-Nazis from “very fine people.”

Moreover, Booker distorted Trump’s words in his launch speech on June 16, 2015:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

Trump did not mention Muslims specifically in the speech, but noted: “Islamic terrorism is eating up large portions of the Middle East.” He called for a ban on Muslim travel and immigration to the U.S. after Islamic terror attacks in Europe, but pulled back from that demand. Once in office, he imposed a travel ban on several terror-prone countries, not just Muslim ones. The ban was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

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.

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