Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker received a question about the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting and LGBTQ people being targets of hate crimes at a CNN town hall event Thursday. Booker said violence against LGBTQ people is clearly a national emergency and noted the "majority of terrorist attacks" in the U.S. since 9/11 have been carried out by "right-wing extremist groups."
QUESTION: Thanks for being here. On June 12, 2016, I was present as a man with an assault weapon murdered 49 mostly LGBTQ people of color at Pulse nightclub. I was very lucky to make it out. Unfortunately, my friends were not. That night we were reminded that LGBTQ people, specifically those of color are often, too often, the targets of hate violence. With the rise of violence against transwomen of color, how will you ensure that law enforcement is equipped to treat marginalized victims of crime with dignity and respect?
BOOKER: So first of all, very clearly, it is a national emergency, the majority of the terrorist attacks in this country since 9/11 had been right-wing extremist groups and the majority of them had been white supremacist and hate groups. And I will elevate, as president of the United States, an office on hate crimes and white supremacy to make sure it is a presidential level effort to protect our country as a whole, but I'm not stopping there. We need a Department of Justice that recognizes this is a problem and investigates hate crimes.
We must -- we must take the steps necessary to keep these weapons out of the hands of people that are doing those crimes, but we can't stop there. Thirty percent of LGBTQ youth, 30 percent have reported missing school in the last month because of fears for their physical safety. We live in a country where we still see regular, everyday violence and intimidation and bullying against Americans because of who they are. And so, number one, I am going to appoint a secretary of education, first of all, that sees the dignity and the worth and the value of every one of our children.
And I will have...
... a Department of Education that takes the steps necessary to protect all children in America.