Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker used the first day of Black History Month to announce his candidacy for the White House in the 2020 presidential election.
A video he released to mark the announcement suggested race will be a major theme of his campaign.
“The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it,” Booker says in the video.
“Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose. Together, America, we will rise,” he continues.
“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame,” he said.
Booker, the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, faces a Democratic primary field that already includes Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who ran for president in 2016, is also expected to test the waters again.
The Democratic presidential field is likely to continue to grow, with speculation that former Vice President Joe Biden and a host of former Obama administration officials and major city political leaders will give the 2020 nomination a try, NPR reported.
Booker receives single-digit support in most early opinion polls, placing him in the middle of the pack of Democratic candidates, according to RealClearPolitics.
Booker is planning to address his standing by traveling to key early states including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to CNN.
Booker and President Donald Trump are long-time antagonists.
“If Cory Booker is the future of the Democratic Party, they have no future! I know more about Cory than he knows about himself,” Trump tweeted during his 2016 presidential campaign.
If Cory Booker is the future of the Democratic Party, they have no future! I know more about Cory than he knows about himself.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2016
Booker, in his announcement video, said he stands apart because he is “the only senator who goes home to a low-income, inner city community.” He called Newark “the first community that took a chance on me.”
Booker rose to rhetorical heights during the bruising confirmation battle over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“There are no bystanders,” Booker said, after calling the effort to block Kavanaugh a “moral moment.”
Booker argued that the accusations against Kavanaugh were sufficient grounds for him to be disqualified from the judicial position, despite the fact that the accusations were unsubstantiated.
“(U)ltimately, not whether he’s innocent or guilty, this is not a trial, but ultimately have enough questions been raised that we should not move on to another candidate,” he said.
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