Trump swipes at Cory Booker over Kavanaugh. Is it 2020 already?

SHARE Trump swipes at Cory Booker over Kavanaugh. Is it 2020 already?
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Defending Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump attacked Sen. Cory Booker and other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee during a news conference on Oct. 1, 2018. | AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

WASHINGTON – Defending Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump attacked Sen. Cory Booker and other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee during a news conference on Monday.

Along with saying that Booker “ran Newark, New Jersey into the ground,” Trump also appeared to refer to a column Booker wrote in college in which he described being a 15-year-old trying to touch a girl’s breast while they kissed at a New Year’s Eve party.

Trump’s references to Booker could be a sign the president sees the senator as a potential rival in the 2020 campaign. Booker, who is widely believed to be considering a run, is the headline speaker at a Democratic Party dinner Saturday in Iowa, home of the Iowa Caucuses.

Republicans, including White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have pointed to the column Booker wrote to paint him as a hypocrite for questioning Kavanaugh about allegations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Ford told the committee last week that when she was 15, Kavanaugh allegedly pulled her into a bedroom at a party, threw her down on a bed, grinded his hips into her and held his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming. Kavanaugh angrily denied the allegation later at the same hearing.

At a Rose Garden news conference Monday, Trump was asked if Kavanaugh should be confirmed if it was shown that he lied about his drinking in high school. Trump said Kavanaugh had been more open than the president expected him to be about drinking. Then Trump said he had seen an unnamed Democratic senator in what could be a “compromising” situation, and began to criticize Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, including Booker, who had harshly questioned Kavanaugh.

“Take a look at Cory Booker,” Trump said. “He ran Newark, New Jersey into the ground. He was a horrible mayor. And he made statements that when he was in high school or college, what he was doing – he actually made the statements. And now he’s talking about Judge Kavanaugh.”

Unlike Kavanaugh, Booker has not been accused by anyone of sexual impropriety. In the 1992 column for The Stanford Daily, he described his high school attempt at “stealing second” as a prelude to criticizing the way men treat women. He said views were informed by serving as a peer counselor and hearing from victims of sexual violence.

“The conversations were personal accounts, not rhetoric; they were real life, not dorm programming. It was a wake-up call,” Booker wrote.

“I see that preceding all the horrors of rape are a host of skewed attitudes. I see my friends seeking to ‘get some’ or to ‘score.’ I see people making power plays. … I’ve seen enough. I spoke to a 40-year-old woman who has trouble looking at herself in the mirror when she gets out of the shower; to her, her body is always dirty. ”

Trump also mocked Booker at a campaign rally in West Virginia over the weekend, making the same disparaging comment about Newark and encouraging the crowd to shout out the name “Spartacus” before Trump said actor Kirk Douglas was better in the role than Booker. That was a reference to Booker invoking the movie’s famous “I am Spartacus” line at a hearing last month after his fellow Democrats promised to stand with him if he were punished for releasing Kavanaugh emails deemed “committee confidential.”

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