New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker appeals for unity as he launches presidential bid

Photo: Erin Schaff / DNCC
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WASHINGTON (AP) (2/1/2019) - U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is appealing to Americans to come together from their partisan corners as he launches his 2020 presidential candidacy.

The New Jersey Democrat made the announcement Friday in a video message to supporters, emphasizing a return to American unity in an era of deep political divisions.

Booker appeared live on "The View" on Friday, telling its hosts that he is running as a counterweight to "a caustic type of politics" that threatens to divide the country.

Booker did not specifically call out President Donald Trump as the source of that "cancer in our country right now." When asked what his party would do to fight the Trump administration's detention of immigrant children, he struck a note of unity and said: "The question is not what the Democrats do. The question is what we do," referring to all Americans.

Booker, the former mayor of Newark, joins multiple other candidates of color in a diverse Democratic primary field. He was first elected to the Senate in 2013 and won re-election to a full term in 2014.

Booker spoke in fluent Spanish during his interview with Univision, vowing to work closely with "the Latino community." In another interview he discussed his support for marijuana legalization.

He says he wants to unite a deeply polarized nation around a "common purpose."

Booker enters a crowded presidential primary field that includes three of his fellow senators and could soon include three more. The 49-year-old visited Iowa and New Hampshire in October, an early indication of his intentions to challenge President Donald Trump.

Booker won a special election to the Senate in 2013 and won a full term in 2014. He will be able to run for a second Senate term in 2020 as well as run for president thanks to a law that New Jersey's governor signed in November.

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