Democrat New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tried to take Senate drama to new heights Thursday when he claimed he knowingly violated Supreme Court rules when he released a set of previously “confidential” White House emails related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but he just ended up making himself into a national joke.
According to the Washington Examiner, Booker demanded that Kavanaugh respond to questions about the 16-year-old emails Kavanaugh wrote about investigating terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11. Kavanaugh simply replied that he’d need to see the material before commenting on it.
At this, Booker dramatically said, “The fact that we aren’t allowing these emails out … that’s why I say the system is rigged.”
He then announced he was going to release the emails public.
When Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said that a senator who released classified documents could be expelled from the Senate, Booker got dramatic.
“Bring the charges,” Booker said, according to Newsweek.
Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut then joined Booker in his grandstanding.
“Apply the rule, bring the charges,” Blumenthal said, according to Newsweek. “All of us are ready to face that rule.”
“This is about the closest I’ll ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment,” Booker said, dramaticizing what he believed was his own civil disobedience.
“I am Spartacus” was used in a climactic moment in 1960 movie “Spartacus” about the legendary leader of a slave revolt against the ancient Romans (All of the rebellious slaves identify themselves as “Spartacus” to take the punishment the Romans had planned for their leader.).
Booker used it to signal what he portrayed as his own self-sacrifice.
Unfortunately for his rumored 2020 presidential campaign hopes, Booker turned out not to be the revolutionary he wanted to be perceived as. The documents he dubbed as “committee confidential” had already been cleared for release about 4 a.m. Thursday, hours before Booker spoke. And, according to Washington Examiner commentary writer Emily Jashinsky, Booker knew it.
That didn’t stop Booker from trying to claim some kind of martyrdom.
“I knowingly violated the rules that were put forth,” Booker said during the hearing, according to the Washington Examiner.
Actually, he knowingly followed the rules.
According to Chad Pergram of Fox News, President George W. Bush’s records representative Bill Burck told Fox that his team had cleared the documents after Booker’s staff asked them to.
President George W Bush's records representative Bill Burck to Fox: “We cleared the documents last night..after..Booker’s staff asked us to. We were surprised to learn about..Booker’s histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly"
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) September 6, 2018
In other words, Booker jumped to moral outrage mode over a wrong that didn’t even exist.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah took to Twitter to joke about Booker’s grandstanding, tweeting a picture of himself talking to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.
Hatch captioned it, “You know … I knew Spartacus.”
“You know… I knew Spartacus.” pic.twitter.com/94eGPCkOp1
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 6, 2018
Marco Rubio also poked fun at Booker’s behavior. He wrote, “On this day in 71B.C. the Thracian gladiator Spartacus was put to death by Marcus Licinius Crassus for disclosing confidential scrolls. When informed days later that in fact the Roman Senate had already publicly released the scrolls, Crassus replied “Oh, ok, my bad”.”
On this day in 71B.C. the Thracian gladiator Spartacus was put to death by Marcus Licinius Crassus for disclosing confidential scrolls. When informed days later that in fact the Roman Senate had already publicly released the scrolls, Crassus replied “Oh, ok, my bad”.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 7, 2018
Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee thought Booker simply had the wrong movie. “Turned out to be more like … ‘Psycho,’ after it’s revealed the documents were released night before on request of Booker’s office,” He tweeted.
Did Cory Booker have a “Spartacus” moment, #1 film of 1960, w/ Kirk Douglas as leader of slave revolt against Roman oppressors? Turned out to be more like the #2 film of 1960, “Psycho,” after it's revealed the documents were released night before on request of Booker’s office.
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 7, 2018
Booker’s theatrics are unfortunately typical of his self-aggrandizing approach to politics.
Fortunately for the right, this offers plentiful comic relief.
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