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Booker: Trump is 'complicit' in white supremacist violence

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Booker brings girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson, to inauguration MORE (D-N.J.) on Wednesday accused President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE of being "complicit" in white supremacist violence.

“For him to fail even to condemn Nazis or even to talk about white supremacy as a problem in this country, to me, that is being complicit in the violence that is happening, and I find that unacceptable and repugnant," Booker, a 2020 presidential candidate, said during a CNN town hall in Orangeburg, S.C.

"I will be a president that faces the threats to this country, including violence coming from right-wing extremist groups.”

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Booker on Wednesday also criticized the Department of Homeland Security's 2017 decision to cut grant money from some organizations that counter violent extremism.

“To cut funding to investigate these domestic terrorist groups, these white supremacist groups, is making us less safe,” he said.

Booker's comments came weeks after Trump said he hasn't seen a rise in white nationalism following the deadly shooting at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people.

“I don't really, I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” Trump told reporters earlier this month when asked if he sees a rise in white nationalism. "If you look what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet."

A social media account believed to be connected to the shooting's primary suspect posted a lengthy manifesto expressing anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views shortly before the massacre. The individual also wrote that he supported Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” but not as a “policy maker and leader.”

Booker, who has been a vocal critic of Trump's, has previously said that racists believe Trump is a racist, but has declined to directly label Trump one.

Many of his fellow 2020 Democratic candidates have been much clearer in labeling Trump a racist.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden must wait weekend for State Department pick Senators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal An ally in the White House is good for abortion access, but not enough MORE (D-Calif.) said last month that it was was not possible to reach any other conclusion but that Trump is a racist.

"When you talk about him calling African countries s-hole countries, when you talk about him referring to immigrants as rapists and murderers, I don’t think you can reach any other conclusion," Harris said. 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenStudent loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee MORE (D-Mass.) last year called Trump a "racist bully."

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus The Hill's 12:30 Report: Next steps in the Trump impeachment Sanders selling sweatshirts with his famous inauguration pose for charity MORE (I-Vt.) has also said that he believes Trump is a racist.

"We must be honest and straightforward and say that we have a president who is a racist," Sanders said last year.