Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) laid out his presidential ambitions during a town hall on Wednesday, pledging to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, work towards Medicare for all and vowing to take on the American gun lobby to craft common-sense firearm policies across the nation.
Booker, one of more than a dozen prominent Democrats running for the party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election, lambasted politicians who offered “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings.
“I am frustrated with politicians who all the best they can muster is to give thoughts and prayers. Enough of that. Enough of that,” Booker told the crowd in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
“I am tired of going to funerals where parents are burying their children,” he added. “We are going to bring a fight like the NRA has never seen if they’re going to defend corporate gun manufacturers more than the American people.”
Like many of his fellow candidates, Booker also sought to cast himself as the political opposite of Trump. He made firm vows to never cut Social Security, called out efforts by the White House to craft anti-LGBTQ policies and said Trump himself was “complicit” in the rise of white supremacy around America.
“Donald Trump wants us to fight him on his terms,” Booker said. “To me, that is not only a recipe for losing the election, it’s a recipe for losing the ability to move this country forward. ... I believe, very firmly that you can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people.”
The senator, however, stopped short of endorsing impeachment proceedings following the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that was delivered to the Justice Department last week. Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of the document in which he noted Mueller did not find evidence that Trump had conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. But Booker said the “Cliff’s Notes version” wasn’t good enough.
“I understand your sense of urgency, and even your sense of disgust,” Booker told an audience member who said she supported impeachment. “But I’m going to tell you this: I’m going to wait for the Mueller report to actually be released. I don’t need (Barr) to filter facts. We should see that report and make our decision based upon that.”