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New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has announced his candidacy for president, joining what was expected to be a crowded field of people challenging Donald Trump for the White House. Booker, 43, made his announcement Friday morning, NBC News reported.

“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame,” he said. “It is not a matter of can we, it’s a matter of do we have the collective will, the American will? I believe we do. Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose. Together, America, we will rise.”

Booker’s announcement came about a week after California Sen. Kamala Harris threw her presidential hat in the ring and said she would be running for the White House.

Trump and Booker have been taking shots at each other for years now. But it was perhaps Booker’s role on the Senate Judiciary Committee that may have compelled him most to run for president after he saw firsthand the types of judges Trump has been pushing to be confirmed.

While he has always been a prominent voice in the Senate, Booker raised his political profile significantly during the Senate confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated by Trump and ultimately confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice despite a damning sexual abuse scandal that resurfaced from his past.

Booker was also behind the introduction and Senate passing of the landmark legislation last year to finally outlaw lynching. Booker, Harris and Republican Sen. Tim Scott introduced the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2018 in June. The bill called for a life sentence for those found guilty on federal anti-lynching charges.

After helping to draft the legislation in June, Booker criticized Congress for taking so long—even after the civil rights movement—to pass anti-lynching legislation.

“It’s a travesty that despite repeated attempts to do so, Congress still hasn’t put anti-lynching legislation on the books. This bill will right historical wrongs by acknowledging our country’s stained past and codifying into law our commitment to abolishing this shameful practice,” he said in a statement.


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