Senate Republicans Mock Cory Booker's 'Spartacus' Moment

Sen. Cory Booker / Getty Images
September 7, 2018

Sen. Cory Booker's (D., N.J.) performance Thursday during the hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh drew ridicule from his Republican colleagues this week.

Booker threatened to release confidential documents that had already been cleared the night before, declaring it was his "I am Spartacus" moment and saying he was willing to be expelled from the Senate for violating the rules. His Republican colleagues were not impressed with his antics.

In the hearing, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) told Booker, "Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate."

In an appearance on Fox Business Network's "Mornings with Maria," Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) referred to Booker's actions in the hearing as a "stunt" intended to boost his 2020 presidential chances.

"Watching [Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris] battle for the 2020 Democratic nomination is a daily occurrence," Cruz said. "They were falling all over each other to see who could be more theatrical, who could be more outrageous, and who could attract the attention of the extreme left-wing base that they're both courting for the 2020 presidential race."

Cornyn and Cruz were not the only Senate Republicans to criticize Booker. The Senate's oldest Republican member, Orrin Hatch (Utah), mocked Booker's comparison to Spartacus with a joke about his own age, tweeting "You know...I knew Spartacus."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) took the comparison a step further, writing in a tweet: "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'."

Booker has insisted he did indeed break the rules Thursday when he released the email Kavanaugh wrote, even though it had been cleared and he was within his rights to release it. He assured CNN's Anderson Cooper Thursday night that he was breaking the rules "all day."

Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing continues in its fourth day on Friday.