Booker: Buttigieg ‘Doing the NRA’s Work for Them’

Democratic New Jersey senator Cory Booker / Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) accused presidential rival Pete Buttigieg of "doing the NRA's work for them" by calling mandatory gun buyback programs "confiscation."

On Monday, Booker criticized Buttigieg over how the South Bend mayor described policies that would require Americans to surrender their personal weapons. The New Jersey senator said Buttigieg's comments on Snapchat's Good Luck America advanced the National Rifle Association's agenda.

"Calling buyback programs ‘confiscation' is doing the NRA's work for them, @PeteButtigieg—and they don't need our help," Booker tweeted.

Buttigieg criticized rival presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke's mandatory gun buyback proposal while speaking to Good Luck America host Peter Hamby, saying he did not believe Democrats should wait to have a "fight over confiscation" when they can focus on pertinent issues relating to guns. He advocated taking an incremental approach to reform focused on enhanced scrutiny on future buyers.

"I just don't think we should wait to have a fight over confiscation when we can win on background checks and assault weapons bans and red flag laws right now," Buttigieg said. "If we want to have another debate about another policy, fine. I just don't think we can wait because people are dying right now and we need solutions right now."

This is not the first time Buttigieg has gone after O'Rourke for the buyback proposal. In September, he expressed concerns that O'Rourke's proposal would be used to "scare people."

"We have agreement among the American people not just for universal background checks, but we have a majority in favor of red flag laws, high capacity magazines, banning the new sale of assault weapons," Buttigieg said.

O'Rourke said he was "really offended" by Buttigieg's criticism.

"I was really offended by those comments," O'Rourke told reporters. "And I think he represents a kind of politics that is focused on poll-testing and focus-group-driving and triangulating and listening to consultants, before you arrive at a position."

Booker was on the verge of dropping out of the Democratic primary due to low fundraising numbers before meeting his self-imposed goals in late September. Buttigieg is polling at 5 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, ahead of O'Rourke's 1.8 percent and Booker's 1.3 percent.