(CNSNews.com) – President Donald Trump is worse than a racist, because he’s using race to divide the country against itself, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“Senator, you compared President Trump to George Wallace, the segregationist Democrat from Alabama. You said the president's own words were a disgusting display of racism and bigotry, are you accusing the president of being a racist?” CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked.
“I'm accusing him of being worse than that, he is somebody that is using race like a weapon to divide our country against itself. He's been using it since before he became president as a way to accelerate his gaining of political power, and the language he uses is actually language- tired old tropes that have been used by demagogues all throughout our country's history,” Booker said.
“From the know nothings who were fighting against Irish and German immigrants, literally using some of the same language, to some of the same tactics that George Wallace was using for his own political power, literally calling his opponents communist and the like,” the senator said.
“This president is yet another sad chapter, but what we have done all the time as Americans, black and white, from different backgrounds, we've always joined together and beaten those demagogues hate- hate mongers and fear mongers and I think that's where Donald Trump will be relegated. This election is not a referendum only on him, it's really a referendum on who we're going to be and who we're going to be to each other and I believe, have deep faith in this country's ability to come together and reject this type of politics,” he said, adding that it isn’t a partisan issue.
When asked whether “there is any merit to the argument that Democrats need to police their own ranks, that some of these progressive Democrats in the House have been reckless with some of their language,” Booker said, “I mean if you're talking about the politics within our party that's a lot different than someone who literally is calling for people, American citizens, to go home which is something that has been used as a racist trope.
“There's no equivalency here whatsoever. I don't care who says it. People who preach racism and bigotry for their own political power try to slice and divide this country against itself. That is something on a whole different moral plane than anything in the inter-dynamics of a political party. This is something that all of us and I hear this from my Republican friends. This is awful. We need to reject it. We need to move beyond this as a country,” he said.
“But, the president has described this strategy though as forcing Democrats like yourself to essentially embrace people on the more liberal side of the party who have said things that he has characterized as anti-Israel, sometimes anti-Semitic. Is this a strategy that is actually effective for the president because it's forcing Democrats like you to defend people you may or may not agree with?” Brennan asked.
Booker said he would defend anyone regardless of their political party who is attacked because of the color of their skin, religion or ethnicity.
“That's just who I am. I don't give a damn about the politics of it. Racism is racism, and to say nothing in the face of it is to be complicit in that kind of language. So I don't care about politics. I care about my nation. This is not who we are,” the senator said.
“I am literally sitting here as a United States senator because Republicans and Democrats stood up in the 1960s and fought for my family's housing rights and my equal rights. This is the greatness of our country. It's not what he is evidencing right now, and we have a moral obligation - forget politics or political advantage to reject it,” Booker said.