In an interview with CNN over the weekend, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) tried to steer wrestle down the suggestion that he wouldn’t be sufficiently rugged to occupy a national ticket.
Angling for placement on the Democratic ticket with Hillary Clinton, Booker used hard-hitting rhetoric to characterize the candidacy of billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.
Running mates typically have to assume take-off-the-jacket roles on the campaign trail in defense of a presidential candidate. Booker’s agonizing Meet the Press moment in 2012 when he said Democratic Party ads against supposed foe Republican Mitt Romney “sickened him,” suggest he’d be more in the Joe Lieberman-John Edwards running mate tradition than a red meat scavenger like Joe Biden.
But in the interview, the junior senator from New Jersey tried to reverse engines on the soft-touch, selfie-styled image with brass knuckle arguments.
“Someone who has consistently demeaned Americans, degraded Americans, and deceived Americans in just about his entire campaign,” Booker said, referring to Trump. “If I turn on the news in any given week he’s demeaning and degrading and deceiving another group of Americans, and whether it’s Muslim Americans, whether it’s judges, people like John McCain…
CNN’s Briana Keilar poked Booker, saying surely he would be more comfortable if Trump picked Republican Governor Chris Christie, a longstanding cross-the-aisle ally of the former Newark Mayor. “I don’t care who Donald Trump picks, this is somebody who is a danger not only to our country, but his recklessness, his disregard, his demeaning and degrading of other individuals will put this planet in peril,” Booker said.
“It’s frankly frightening,” he added of the prospect of a Trump presidency.