Opinion, Speculation & Analysis – | New Jersey Senator Cory Booker stated on Thursday that if elected President of the United States in 2020, he would create a White House office with the intentions of combating “white supremacy and hates crimes.”
Booker said he would also require the FBI and the Justice Department to allocate the same level of resources and attention to white supremacist-inspired violence as they devote to international terrorism.
The New Jersey senator announced his plan less than two weeks after a gunman in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 people inside a Walmart after posting an anti-immigrant screed online that echoed some of President Donald Trump’s heated rhetoric. The attack was among three mass shootings in the span of a week that killed 34 people in all.
The incidents have roiled the presidential race, with Democrats accusing Trump, a Republican, of fomenting hatred while failing to embrace common-sense gun restrictions. Several candidates, including Senator Kamala Harris on Wednesday, have released plans to fight gun violence and white supremacy in the days since the El Paso massacre.
President Trump has supported “red flag” laws limiting access to firearms for those who may be a threat, in addition to likely expansion of background checks on firearm purchases.
Reuters reports, “Last week, at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white supremacist gunned down nine people in 2015, Booker criticized Trump’s language while linking the El Paso shooting to the United States’ long history of racism.”
“To say this is to speak the truth plainly, because with the truth there can be no reconciliation,” stated Senator Booker, an African-American.
Reuters further reports, “Booker’s campaign likened his proposed White House Office on Hate Crimes and White Supremacist Violence to other agencies that presidents have convened to coordinate responses to major domestic crises, such as the White House Office of AIDS Policy.”
If Senator Booker’s proposal were to pass, the FBI and other federal agencies would “be required to conduct assessments of white supremacist threats and improve reporting of hate crimes. Booker would also create an advisory group of leaders from communities hurt by hate crimes to advise his administration,” according to Reuters.