FACT CHECK: Cory Booker Is Neither a 'Truth-Teller' Nor a 'Determined Purveyor of The Truth'

New Jersey senator tells SXSW that he is on front-lines in fight with fake news

Sen. Cory Booker
Sen. Cory Booker / Getty Images
March 11, 2017

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D.) described himself in a Friday interview at South By Southwest as a "determined purveyor of the truth," but a Washington Free Beacon analysis finds that Booker has a long history of getting caught straying from reality.

Booker, who was introduced by his interviewer as "the incredible Cory Booker," gave a speech to the crowd at the annual Austin tech conference, which will also hear from former Vice President Joe Biden over the weekend. His comment about being a "truth-teller," however, came during an interview for Facebook Live, which can be viewed below.

"Who are we supposed to trust? And where do you see your place in all that?" Booker is asked by his SXSW interviewer a bit more than nine minutes into the interview.

"If you really think this world needs more truth, then be a more determined purveyor of the truth," Booker said. "I see my role as a truth-teller, and we all should be truth tellers in an era of fake news."

It is unclear what gave Booker this view of himself as a "truth-teller." Representatives for his Senate office did not respond to a request for comment.

Booker's history of mistruths, however, is well-documented.

The most notable came in Booker's early political speeches, which often included a tale about a rough Newark drug dealer named "T-Bone" who threatened to kill Booker when they first met.

"I walked up to this charismatic black guy my age called T-Bone, who was one of the drug lords," Booker said of their meeting. "I just said, ‘Yo, man, wha's up,' and he leaped in front of me, looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Who the blank do you think you are? If you ever so much as look at me again, I'm going to put a cap in your ass.'"

Booker said that despite the threat made on his life, he decided to befriend the drug dealer and tried to convince T-Bone to turn himself in. T-Bone wound up crying, Booker would say.

"He looked at me with this vicious ferocity that he looked at me with when he first threatened my life, and he bit down hard on his lip and he burst into tears and he started crying and sobbing into my dashboard," Booker said.

The problems for Booker arose when it was reported by National Review that the story that Booker had told "a million times" on the campaign trail was completely fictional.

The extensive investigation found that Booker had not only made up the story about his relationship with T-Bone, but also that T-Bone wasn't even a real person.

Booker was confronted by some of his supporters in New Jersey, who told him that his created character "pandered to a stereotype of inner-city black men." Booker admitted to making up T-Bone, and stopped telling the story.

Booker has also told a lie about attempting to save a 19-year-old gun shot victim's life, lying about why he delivered diapers to a family during a snow storm, and even telling a lie during the eulogy for a well-known Newark activist.

Booker also used a fake quote from Benjamin Franklin in an attempt to criticize President Donald Trump.