Booker: Trump "Had The Media" Write About Migrant Caravans As If They Were A Threat To U.S.

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker called the Supreme Court's decision to omit a citizenship question from the 2020 census a "clear defeat" for President Trump. Booker reacted to the president's announcement that he will pursue the citizenship question through other means in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday.

"I think this is a clear defeat for him, and I think it's a defeat because activists around our country, including the Supreme Court, that we already know is tilted in the conservative direction, even calling him out and saying that he's not been truthful with this," Booker said. "This has been a cynical attempt, in my opinion, to not only try to subvert a quality count and quality representation, but somebody who has just failed. This is yet another one of his boasting and braggadociosness and now he's failed and trying to make the best of it."





Booker also said Trump has created a "fear-based culture" that made the media write about migrant caravan as if they were an existential threat to the United States. The Senator said ICE should be prioritized for "real challenges to our public safety" and not raids that take children away from their parents.

"Anderson, this is somebody who is trying to drive within this great country a fear-based culture," Booker told the host. "He tried to tell us we should be terrified about migrants coming up from the south, to the point that he had the media writing about a caravan as if that's going to threaten the mightiest country on the Planet Earth. His fear-based politics is undermining the safety of communities all around this country, where now you have immigrant communities are afraid to even go forward and report crime, sexual assault, violence, robberies to local police because they're afraid of being deported, afraid of dropping their kids off to school."

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST:  In addition to running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Cory Booker has introduced legislation, now essentially moot, to bar the Census Bureau from sharing data from any citizenship question with state redistricting officials.  I spoke to him about the issue earlier this evening.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER:  Senator Booker, what do you make of the president announcing that he's going to pursue a citizenship question outside the census?  I mean, is this the president declaring victory in the face of defeat here?  

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think this is a clear defeat for him, and I think it's a defeat because activists around our country, including the Supreme Court, that we already know is tilted in the conservative direction, even calling him out and saying that he's not been truthful with this.  This has been a cynical attempt, in my opinion, to not only try to subvert a quality count and quality representation, but somebody who has just failed.  This is yet another one of his boasting and braggadociosness and now he's failed and trying to make the best of it.  

COOPER:  I mean, does the Commerce Department even have the means to survey everyone in the United States?  Is this going to be like the president's announced voter fraud commission which folded after doing nothing?  

BOOKER:  Yes, again, we've seen so many takes of this, domestic and foreign policy.  Everything from tweeting out we have nothing to worry about North Korea.  He's taken care of that problem, to now what we're seeing today.  

Having now served in the Senate for two years, I see Republicans and Democrats often say in our hallways that this is yet another example of where people just see -- hear him talk, hear him shout things out from Twitter or from the White House and ultimately don't come to pass.  

So I don't put much stock in what he says, but I’m going to remain ever vigilant in trying to stop him from undermining the Constitution, and whether that is in trying to prevent us continuing to investigate his administration for things that clearly indicate malpractice or misconducts, all the way to the constitutionally prescribed obligations we have, which is to conduct a fair count of people within our country.  

COOPER:  I wonder if this has already had the impact that the president had hoped by getting -- you know, making people who may be here -- who are undocumented or even not, who are immigrants, making them afraid of actually taking part in the census.  

BOOKER:  Anderson, this is somebody who is trying to drive within this great country a fear-based culture.  He tried to tell us we should be terrified about migrants coming up from the south, to the point that he had the media writing about a caravan as if that's going to threaten the mightiest country on the Planet Earth.  His fear-based politics is undermining the safety of communities all around this country, where now you have immigrant communities are afraid to even go forward and report crime, sexual assault, violence, robberies to local police because they're afraid of being deported, afraid of dropping their kids off to school.  

This fear-based culture is a toxic thing that he's doing.  It may help him gin up parts of his base, but it's undermining the fabric of our country and actually undermining our ability to come together and do things, like pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in a bipartisan way.  

COOPER:  You condemn the impending ICE raids.  The people, though, who are being targeted have received court orders to leave the U.S. that they have not complied with.  So what exactly are you taking issue with?  I mean, the supporters say what's wrong with enforcing existing court orders?  

BOOKER:  I’m saying that when we have real urgent needs, where there's real challenges to our public safety, we should be prioritizing this enforcement.  And when I see parents being taken away from their children, their American children, when I see an American losing their spouse, when I see business owners as someone who is telling me about today being pulled away from -- that pose no threat to us whatever, when we could be using these law enforcement resources to really go after the folks who are real threats to our communities.  This is all kinds of wrong and we're a better country than this to be separating families throughout our country, having children now have to grow up without a parent present in their house.  

This is not our values, shouldn't be our priorities.  It's the wrong way to go about immigration.  

COOPER:  Just one last question about the campaign.  How do you see your position here?  How far away are you from making, for instance, the September debate stage?  I think you need 130,000 donors to register, 2 percent in four polls.  

Do you think that threshold is fair?  Is it too tough?  

BOOKER:  Well, we'll make that threshold, especially if people go to corybooker.com and make a dollar contribution wherever they can to our campaign.  We're definitely looking like we can make it especially if we get more people supporting our candidacy.  

I think it's a good thing we set some kind of lines because obviously with two debate stages and 20-plus people in this race, it's hard for people to focus.  But remember, we are so many months out.  We haven't had a nominee from our party go on to be president who is leading this far out in the polls since before Carter.  There's a lot more campaign to go.  

I’m really excited about how well we're doing.  After the last debate, we raised over a million dollars in about a week.  We certainly need more help.  So I’m hoping more people will learn about what I stand for, the values that I speak to, and go to corybooker.com and keep me in this race.  

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