Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) decided to attend the Republican National Convention on Thursday to try to make a point that the four-day Cleveland event was “not even the best of the Republican Party.”
Booker, whose name has been under consideration as a possible VP pick for Hillary Clinton, told CNN he did not know the name of the nominee but the “great thing about is, she has tremendous choices.”
“There are really quality people within our party. We have a strong bench. But the focus is really about who our nominees are. And today, this week, we have seen such a stark contrast between the darkness, negativity, what has been spewed in this convention, something like I have never seen before,” the former Newark mayor said.
“Usually, conventions want to point where America needs to go. This has been more about the gutter.”
Booker specifically referred to Ben Carson’s speech connecting Clinton to Lucifer and chants of “hang the witch” from delegates.
“This kind of hatred, the kind of bile… All of this in totality has probably been one of the darker, meaner-spirited conventions of my lifetime. And that is very frustrating. It’s really why I came here to Cleveland,” he said.
“…That’s why I think over 20 of my [GOP] colleagues are staying away from this spectacle, because it reflects what we have seen in the campaign so far.”
Booker said he had “a deep faith in my country” that voters would “reject this.”
“I mean, you have everybody from Paul Ryan calling what is coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth textbook racism, to people like John McCain, who is a war hero. So, I think the totality, when this gets added up, when people start really programming into this and seeing this campaign, this country is going to turn away from that kind of bile,” he added.
The senator also called the convention “a call to a dark place in American politics that we have not heard since the days of segregationists holding court within parties.”
“I’m talking to other folks who wanted to say, oh, this is Republicans vs Democrats,” Booker said. “This is not the Republican Party. This is the party of Trump. This is a guy who offers almost a bounty on people, or I will pay your legal expenses if you take physical violence.”
Democrats, he added, want to go into the Philly convention next week “ready to elevate the country, appeal to our higher angels, not the darker ones, and really talk about a great nation, how we’re gong to get greater under her leadership.”