Does condemning white supremacy count as “talking about” it?
To New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, the answer to that question would appear to be “no.”
Booker, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and frequent critic of President Donald Trump, told CNN anchor Kate Bolduan on Monday that he did not welcome Trump’s acknowledgment of the “sinister ideologies” of racism and white supremacy, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
Just months ago, however, Booker had called on the president to “talk about” white supremacy. Did Trump’s denunciation not count?
In a March town hall with CNN, the New Jersey senator called Trump “complicit” in white supremacist violence.
“For him to fail even to condemn Nazis or even to talk about white supremacy as a problem in this country, to me that is being complicit in the violence that is happening, and I find that unacceptable and repugnant,” Booker said according to Axios.
There’s nothing wrong with calling for the president to denounce (or “talk about”) white supremacy.
But Booker wouldn’t even acknowledge the president’s forceful condemnation of the ideology in the wake of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
In a Monday speech, Trump declared that “in one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” according to NBC News.
“Do you welcome that acknowledgement?” Bolduan asked the senator just hours after the president’s remarks.
“No. Look: Reconciliation, the kind of healing that we need, starts first with someone standing up and saying, ‘I’ve been wrong,'” Booker replied.
Listen to the exchange below:
Booker’s response challenged the president with a brand-new standard.
The New Jersey senator went from asking the president to merely speak about white supremacy to insisting he apologize in a matter of months.
“This is about reconciliation. Speak to … how you have said things that make people with violent instincts and violent intentions all the more likely to do the kind of heinous things,” Booker continued, rhetorically addressing the president.
If the 2020 Democratic hopeful was trying to imply Trump’s culpability for the El Paso shooting, he is simply wrong.
Democrats like Booker — particularly those fighting for attention in the media as their party’s primary race heats up — will continue to blame the president for extremist violence, even when he condemns white supremacy again and again.
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