Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), who is running for president, said Monday he does not welcome President Donald Trump condemning white supremacy after he had demanded exactly that.
Trump’s campaign war room highlighted Booker’s inconsistency Monday afternoon, posting a video on Twitter of Booker’s comments from March in which he said Trump must talk about white supremacy. Despite Trump’s prior statements against violence, Booker had drawn the line at blaming white supremacy and said Trump was therefore "complicit."
"For him to fail even to condemn Nazis or even to talk about white supremacy as a problem in this country, to me," Booker said about Trump in March. "That is being complicit in the violence that is happening, and I find that unacceptable and repugnant."
But Booker drew a new line on CNN Monday after Trump explicitly condemned white supremacy in a White House speech addressing the shooting in El Paso, Texas. Booker argued Trump’s prior failure to single out white supremacy and his own rhetoric require him to condemn his own actions, not just killers’ ideology.
"Do you welcome that acknowledgement [of white supremacy]?" CNN anchor Kate Bolduan asked.
"No," Booker replied, turning the issue back onto Trump. "Reconciliation, the kind of healing that we need, starts first with someone standing up and saying ‘I've been wrong.’"
Booker accused Trump of fueling "racial bigotry and hatred" and called on him to do more to show he’s "changed." To accomplish this, Trump would need to admit he influenced people toward violence, Booker argued.
"Speak to how you have contributed to the hate and the division and the bigotry and the racism, how you have said things that make people with violent instincts and violent intentions all the more likely to do...heinous things," Booker said, directing his words at Trump.
The El Paso shooter posted a white supremacist manifesto online, and Trump explicitly named white supremacy as the central evil of his thinking. Trump’s speech came after it was found the killer had taken inspiration from the white supremacist and "eco-fascist" shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Booker went on to say Trump’s "catastrophic failure" of leadership was harming the country.
"There is no repentance in this, there is no contrition in this, and there is no reconciliation from this president," Booker said.