UPDATED: 12:00 p.m. EDT, Feb. 1, 2019 —
Like many high-profile Democrats, Cory Booker was considering running for president. He was mayor of Newark, New Jersey from 2006 to 2013 and has been a New Jersey Senator since 2013. But on Friday, he made it official and declared his candidacy for the White House.
About two months before his announcement Friday, he took the time to address longstanding and unfounded rumors that he is gay.
“I’m heterosexual,” Booker told The Philadelphia Inquirer in an interview that was published Dec. 17. “Every candidate should run on their authentic self, tell their truth, and more importantly, or mostly importantly, talk about their vision for the country.”
That comment was similar to his announcement Friday, when he said in part, “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.”
With so much homophobia in America, the country may not be as open to a homosexual man as president. But could the American public be open to a president who is single, like Booker is? The last man who wasn’t married and elected president was Governor Grover Cleveland of New York who defeated Republican James G. Blaine of Maine in 1884. However, two years into being in office, he married 21-year-old Frances Folsom Cleveland.
In the Inquirer interview, Booker also spoke out on being single, reminding us our current president has been married three times. “Clearly the norms of family relationships have been changed dramatically as you’ve seen people across this country being elected to offices with all different kinds of family situations, including the president who has had three spouses,” he said. “So I think a lot of that conventional thought on that doesn’t apply.”
He continued, “I’m going to run on who I am, whether that’s running for reelection [to the Senate] or running for president. I’ve always trusted the voters enough to evaluate me on the content of my character, quality of my ideas, and my ability to do the job.”
It will be tough competition. Reportedly, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are all considering running.