BOOKER BAILS: Another Dem withdraws from race as Trump steps up reelection efforts

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Corey Booker on Monday announced his intent to withdraw from the race, citing campaign finance woes as the primary cause.

In a letter to his supporters, Booker, who formally announced his campaign in February 2019, said a lack of financial support made it impossible for his campaign to continue.

“Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win — money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington,” Booker said. “If we can’t raise more money in this final stretch, we won’t be able to do the things that other campaigns with more money can do to show presence.”

“Nearly one year ago, I got in the race for president because I believed to my core that the answer to the common pain Americans are feeling right now, the answer to Donald Trump’s hatred and division, is to reignite our spirit of common purpose to take on our biggest challenges and build a more just and fair country for everyone,” Booker continued. “I’ve always believed that. I still believe that. I’m proud I never compromised my faith in these principles during this campaign to score political points or tear down others.”

“And maybe I’m stubborn, but I’ll never abandon my faith in what we can accomplish when we join together,” he added. “I will carry this fight forward — I just won’t be doing it as a candidate for president this year. Friend, it’s with a full heart that I share this news — I’ve made the decision to suspend my campaign for president.”

Booker is the latest Democratic presidential candidate to withdraw from the race as President Donald Trump continues to step up his efforts at reelection with rallies planned nationwide for the next several weeks.

In a message to his followers posted to his official Facebook page, Trump mocked Booker’s withdrawal, writing: “Really Big Breaking News (Kidding): Booker, who was in zero polling territory, just dropped out of the Democrat Presidential Primary Race. Now I can rest easy tonight. I was sooo concerned that I would someday have to go head to head with him!”

According to poll numbers published by Real Politics, Booker polled at an abysmal 2 percent nationally, which made him ineligible to participate in debates in recent months. Author Marianne Williamson and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro also departed from the race this month.

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POT PARTY: Cory Booker, other 2020 Dem presidential hopefuls introduce bill to end federal ban on marijuana

WASHINGTON (Fox News) — New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker introduced legislation to end the federal prohibition of marijuana on Thursday, joined by a series of other announced and potential Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls including Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris.

Harris’ support seemingly cemented her full-scale reversal on the issue. In 2010, Harris was among a handful of lawmakers — including then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — to oppose Proposition 19, a measure to legalize recreational marijuana and allow it to be sold and taxed. Then San Francisco’s district attorney, Harris called Proposition 19 a “flawed public policy.”
The move comes as polling increasingly shows widespread national support for legalizing the drug. A Fox News poll last year showed that 59 percent of voters support legalizing marijuana — up from 51 percent in 2015, and 46 percent in 2013. Only 26 percent favored making “smoking marijuana” legal in 2001.

“The War on Drugs has not been a war on drugs, it’s been a war on people, and disproportionately people of color and low-income individuals,” Booker said in a statement. “The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse decades of this unfair, unjust, and failed policy by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances and making it legal at the federal level.”

Booker added: “But it’s not enough to simply decriminalize marijuana. We must also repair the damage caused by reinvesting in those communities that have been most harmed by the War on Drugs. And we must expunge the records of those who have served their time. The end we seek is not just legalization, it’s justice.”

Booker’s bill was co-sponsored not only by Harris, Sanders, Gillibrand, and Warren, but also by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Or., Jeff Merkley, D-Or., and Michael Benne, D-Co.

“Millions of Americans’ lives have been devastated because of our broken marijuana policies, especially in communities of color and low-income communities,” Gillibrand said. “I’m proud to work with Senator Booker on this legislation to help fix decades of injustice caused by our nation’s failed drug policies.”

Added Sanders: “As I said during my 2016 campaign, hundreds of thousands of people are arrested for possession of marijuana every single year. Many of those people, disproportionately people of color, have seen their lives negatively impacted because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That has got to change. We must end the absurd situation of marijuana being listed as a Schedule 1 drug alongside heroin. It is time to decriminalize marijuana, expunge past marijuana convictions and end the failed war on drugs.”

For her part, Harris echoed Booker’s sentiments and seemingly embraced her changed views on marijuana. Despite her past opposition to legalizing the drug, the former California attorney general recently boasted about smoking weed as a college student on the popular New York City-based radio program “The Breakfast Club,” telling hosts DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne tha God that she’s “inhaled” from a joint “a long time ago.”

“I think it gives a lot of people joy. And we need more joy in the world,” Harris added, claiming she used to listen to Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur — though they didn’t release their albums during Harris’ college years — while she reportedly got high.

In co-sponsoring Booker’s bill on Thursday, Harris, like Booker, suggested that prohibitions on the drug disproportionately affect black men.

“Marijuana laws in this country have not been applied equally, and as a result we have criminalized marijuana use in a way that has led to the disproportionate incarceration of young men of color. It’s time to change that,” Harris said. “Legalizing marijuana is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do in order to advance justice and equality for every American.”

Warran, meanwhile, added: “Marijuana should be legalized, and we should wipe clean the records of those unjustly jailed for minor marijuana crimes. By outlawing marijuana, the federal government puts communities of color, small businesses, public health and safety at risk.”

Last year, California became the largest legal U.S. marijuana marketplace, Massachusetts opened the first recreational shops on the East Coast, Canada legalized it in most provinces, and Mexico’s Supreme Court recognized the rights of individuals to use marijuana, moving the country closer to broad legalization.

New Hampshire lawmakers on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to legalizing recreational marijuana, dismissing public safety and health concerns on a path to join scores of other states that have passed similar cannabis measures.

Ten states have legalized recreational marijuana — including the three bordering New Hampshire — while New York, New Jersey and others are considering it this year.


 

Fox News’ Jennifer Earl and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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REPORT: Booker’s push for Kavanaugh vote delay called out after 1992 admission of teenage groping surfaces

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Fox News) — New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker is facing accusations of hypocrisy over his calls to delay the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh amid sexual misconduct allegations, as he once admitted groping a friend without her consent in high school.

The senator, who urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to first let the FBI conduct an investigation after California professor Christine Blasey Ford accused the high court nominee of sexual assault over 35 years ago, once wrote an article detailing an instance where he groped a female friend.

“New Year’s Eve 1984 I will never forget. I was 15. As the ball dropped, I leaned over to hug a friend and she met me instead with an overwhelming kiss. As we fumbled upon the bed, I remember debating my next ‘move’ as if it were a chess game,” Booker wrote in the student-run Stanford Daily newspaper in 1992.

“With the ‘Top Gun’ slogan ringing in my head, I slowly reached for her breast. After having my hand pushed away once, I reached my ‘mark,’” he continued, without explaining what he meant by “mark.”

“Our groping ended soon and while no ‘relationship’ ensued, a friendship did. You see, the next week in school she told me that she was drunk that night and didn’t really know what she was doing,” he added.

Booker’s intent of the column was to detail his transformation from a 15-year-old who was “trotting around the bases and stealing second” to someone who was called a “man-hater” over his pro-women views.

“In retrospect, my soliloquy titled ‘The Oppressive Nature of Male Dominated Society and Its Violent Manifestations Rape, Anorexia, Battered Wives’ may have been a surreptitious attempt to convince her that I was a sensitive man, but more likely I was trying to convince myself that my attitudes had changed,” he wrote.

The now-senator came back to the topic a few months later in 1992, penning another article that mentioned the controversial column, which he said was about “date rape,” and admitted that his actions were at odds with his beliefs.

“But by my second column, as I raised my noble pen to address the issue of date rape, I realized that the person holding it wasn’t so noble after all,” he wrote. “With this issue as with so many others, a dash of sincere introspection has revealed to me a dangerous gap — a gap between my beliefs and my actions.”

The columns by Booker, a potential 2020 presidential contender, have resurfaced after he became one of the leading voices of the Democratic opposition against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Following allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, which he vehemently denied, Booker said the accusations are “serious, credible, and deeply troubling.” After the committee vote was delayed and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley invited both Ford and Kavanaugh to testify on Monday, Booker called for an FBI investigation before holding a hearing.

Paul Mulshine, a columnist for the Star-Ledger, the largest newspaper in New Jersey, wrote Thursday that Booker’s columns will put him in an awkward position amid the scandal rocking the confirmation hearings.

“Based on that Stanford Daily column, Booker should be giving Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt as well. The point of it was that the future senator had ‘a wake-up call’ and decided ‘I will never be the same.’”

Booker’s office pushed back strongly.

“This disingenuous right-wing attack, which has circulated online and in partisan outlets for the past five years, rings hollow to anyone who reads the entirety of Senator Booker’s Stanford Daily column,” a spokesperson for the senator said in a statement to Fox News.

“The column is in fact a direct criticism of a culture that encourages young men to take advantage of women — written at a time when so candidly discussing these issues was rare — and speaks to the impact Senator Booker’s experience working to help rape and sexual assault survivors as a college peer counselor had on him.”


Lukas Mikelionis of Fox News contributed to the contents of this report. 

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