Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker on Sunday blasted President Donald Trump for his racist attacks on four minority congresswomen, saying Trump is “worse than a racist.”
“The reality is this is a guy who is worse than a racist. He is actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gain. He is trying to use this as a weapon to divide our nation against itself,” the New Jersey Democrat told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
“And this is somebody who is very similar to George Wallace, who – a racist – he’s using the exact same language,” Booker added, referring to a former governor of Alabama who supported segregation and was a vocal opponent of the Civil Rights movement.
Booker’s comments follow Trump’s tweeted attacks on four minority Democratic congresswomen last week that implied the lawmakers – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – were not natural-born American citizens and should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” The tweets were widely condemned by congressional Democrats and some Republicans, and the House passed a resolution condemning the racist language Trump used.
Trump again on Sunday commented on the congresswomen of color known on Capitol Hill as “The Squad,” questioning their commitment to America and saying on Twitter that they are “destroying the Democratic Party.”
Booker – along with other 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls – previously rebuked the President’s comments, telling Jake Tapper on “The Lead”’ that Trump is “literally fanning the flames of racial violence” with his attacks, and describing the President’s language as “clearly bigoted, vile, dangerous.”
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller defended Trump’s recent tweets about the group of lawmakers, arguing in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that they were not racist.
“I think the term racist … has become a label that is too often deployed by the left Democrats in this country simply to try to silence and punish and suppress people they disagree with, speech that they don’t want to hear,” Miller told host Chris Wallace on Sunday. He added that he fundamentally disagrees “with the view that if you criticize somebody and they happen to be a different color skin that that makes it racial criticism.”
On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence also backed Trump, telling CBS’ Major Garrett that the President “wasn’t happy” about the crowd at his North Carolina rally breaking into chants of “send her back” last week. The vice president’s comment echoed Trump’s own claim that he wasn’t pleased with the chants, a statement the President made after pressure from his allies.
“He wasn’t happy about it. And if it happens again, he might – he would make an effort to speak out about it,” Pence said of the chants aimed at Omar, who was born in Somalia and immigrated to the US when she was young.
CNN’s Nikki Carvajal, Alison Main and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.