Booker: Trump is 'complicit' in white supremacist violence

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren introduces universal child care legislation Warren introduces universal child care legislation Booker responds to Trump's mass deportation threat: 'This is not who we are' MORE (D-N.J.) on Wednesday accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally 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 Devi HarrisBiden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Biden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Poll: Six Dems lead Trump in Florida match-ups 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 Ann WarrenSanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Warren introduces universal child care legislation MORE (D-Mass.) last year called Trump a "racist bully."

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally 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.