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Booker: Trump is 'complicit' in white supremacist violence

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Hill associations push for more diversity in lawmakers' staffs Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' MORE (D-N.J.) on Wednesday accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race 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 teams to meet with Trump administration agencies Biden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members Ossoff, Warnock to knock on doors in runoff campaigns 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 WarrenBiden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus MORE (D-Mass.) last year called Trump a "racist bully."

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far 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.