Two months after joining the 2020 race for the White House, New Jersey’s Democratic Sen. Cory Booker officially kicked off his campaign Saturday at a rally in Newark, and Twitter had a lot to say.
The event was billed as a “Justice for All” two-week tour of cities that began in Newark where the senator served as mayor from 2006 until 2013, WNBC-TV said.
It was an opportunity to step onto the national stage and inject momentum into his campaign. Booker is one of 18 Democrats and an Independent (Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont) competing for president—a field that could grow and be shaken up if former Vice President Joe Biden enters the race.
Booker drew on themes from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” He combined the idea of unity with policy goals that include closing the racial wealth gap and fixing the broken criminal justice system.
“Critics will tell us that a campaign powered by grace and love and a deep faith in each other” cannot prevail, Booker said. “But I say it’s the only way we win. The president wants a race to the gutter and to fight us in the gutter. To win, we have to fight from higher ground in order to bring this country to higher ground.”
The rally hit a bump in the road by protesters who waved Palestinian flags and used the senator’s slogan against him, Yahoo News reported.
“You say ‘Justice For All’ and he named, you know, clean water, housing, affordable health care, freedom but he doesn’t … talk about Palestine. They’re struggling just as much as us here — even more,” protester Wajeeh Abushawish told Yahoo.
About 10 protesters in three groups attended the rally but left after interrupting Booker’s speech. They were identified as Rutgers University students who are members of a group called Students for Justice in Palestine. They oppose the senators strong pro-Israel positions, including his rejection of legislation to pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territory.
If campaign cash is an indication, Booker has an uphill climb against some of the other high-profile candidates in the field.
Booker raised more than $5 million in the two months since he announced his candidacy. Meanwhile, Sanders and Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, raised more in the first 24 hours of announcing their campaign than Booker raised in more than 60 days. After announcing their presidential bids, Sanders raised nearly $6 million and supporters contributed about $6.1 million to O’Rourke’s campaign.
Scroll down and take a look how Twitter reacted to Booker’s official campaign kickoff.