Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) delivered a speech Thursday morning at the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he appealed for national unity — while calling supporters of President Donald Trump a “cult of personality.”
Booker was speaking on the final day of hearings on the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Booker praised his Republican colleagues in the Senate who had criticized Trump for “bringing in military and turning gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park” (which never happened) and for holding the Bible “in an awkward way for a photo op” (evoking false claims by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that he held it “upside down”).
Booker then said:
We have armed militias now gearing up. Go to the website armyoftrump.com [sic]. First of all, that worries me because I like my conservatives — because usually you pick things we all agree on, calling organizations “freedom,” or “liberty,” bringing in those words. This is the cult of a personality. Not “defend the United States,” not “make a fair election,” this is the “Army of Trump” [sic]. Am I exaggerating? We’re literally sitting here when we have people like the governor of Michigan, where people are putting together plots to abduct elected officials in the United States of America. Does this not trouble us? The things that are going on are stunning to me. A president saying “stand back and stand by” to an organization that’s just doing that. Standing by. We have literally in this moment a president refusing to unequivocably talk about the peaceful transfer of power. All of these things are troubling.
Much of what Booker said was false:
- The “armyfortrump.com” (not “armyoftrump”) site is a Trump campaign website asking for campaign volunteers, not an “armed militia”
- The suspects in the Michigan plot include a Black Lives Matter supporter and a Trump hater
- Trump said “stand back and stand by” to discourage the Proud Boys, using the language of the moderator and Biden
- Trump has never rejected the “peaceful transfer of power” (though Democrats rejected the 2016 election results)
Booker closed by calling for a “revival of civic grace.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.