Cory Booker spoke with MSNBC’s Zerlina Maxwell today where the two discussed Donald Trump and the Republican response to COVID-19. The New Jersey senator slammed both before questioning the president’s grasp on reality.
“I sometimes seriously have to wonder what planet our president is living on because the reality is the people on the ground right now in America are hurting and they need a lot more than his searing, burning, callous rhetoric.”
Booker talked about the city of Newark, where he served as mayor from 2006-2013, saying it has been getting hit especially hard by the virus and its fallout, acknowledging that to be the case in many other Black and low-income communities around the country as well.
The 51-year-old talked about the human angle of the crisis, expressing sympathy for those who are now struggling to make rent payments or those who find themselves in food lines that “in many communities go for miles.”
His words of sympathy soon turned to frustration, as he said he was angry that so many Americans have been suffering financially over the last few months, throwing blame across the aisle to Donald Trump and the Republicans.
“We as Democrats have been ready with a response months ago, in May. We had our comprehensive plan on the table, but they were fiddling as our nation was spiritually burning from pain and agony.”
Noting that Republicans were not willing to come to the table to negotiate a new coronavirus relief package until after the expiration of unemployment benefits and PPP loan programs, Booker said the current economic climate is not a time to let citizens suffer for prolonged periods of time.
Economists from both parties have recognized the need to have another stimulus package, he said, and that cutting unemployment checks is not the way do bring the country back to its feet.
The former Democratic presidential candidate also came to the defense of public workers, saying firefighters, teachers and the like should not be laid off because local governments are struggling. It is on the federal government to help, he contended.
He also had praise for past presidents, including both Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, who said acted boldly as leaders. But Trump, he argued, has not risen to the occasion.
“But this president has done nothing,” he said.
Booker is no stranger to criticizing Trump. In July, he called the administration’s decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone “criminal,” while also proclaiming that he would “sooner die” than see Trump refuse to vacate the White House if he loses the election in November.