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Cory Booker brings message of unity to campaign stop at UNLV

Updated April 19, 2019 - 1:19 am

Presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., urged a small, diverse room of supporters at UNLV on Thursday night to approach the 2020 election cycle with love.

It’s the only thing that will defeat President Donald Trump at the polls next year, Booker said.

“He wants us to fight on his terms and his turf,” Booker said. “If you don’t like my philosophy, go to other candidates, because some people want to fight fire with fire.”

Thursday night was the senator’s second stop in the Las Vegas Valley since announcing his candidacy for president in February.

Booker was scheduled to speak with Young Democrats of UNLV, but he attracted a crowd of about 40 people of varying ages during his “Justice for All Tour” stop.

Audience member Gordon Meininger, 54, said Booker’s message of unity resonated with him, but he is still weighing his choices for next year’s presidential election.

“There’s many divisions in our country right now that we can get over once we realize our agreements and unite as a country,” Meininger said.

Booker, a former Rhodes scholar, has voiced support for universal health care and universal preschool. He also supports ending mass incarceration and legalizing marijuana federally.

Early polling shows Booker struggling in a crowded field of candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination. According to an April poll by Emerson College, 2 percent of respondents supported Booker.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Vice President Joe Biden, who has yet to formally enter the race, lead the pack with 29 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

Before addressing the audience at UNLV, Booker told reporters the redacted report of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election was “not reflective of the spin” that U.S. Attorney General William Barr had publicized.

The redacted report was released to the public Thursday.

The investigation found no conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. The report did not conclude that Trump obstructed justice, but Mueller’s findings also did not exonerate him.

Barr has said the findings were not sufficient to establish obstruction of justice.

Booker said lawmakers should continue investigating and that he would call on Mueller to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After giving a roughly 15-minute speech Thursday night, Booker fielded questions from the audience.

He said one of his first priorities as president would be to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, which Trump in 2017 said the U.S. would leave.

Booker said he would give localities legal standards to begin suing polluters, and he wants the U.S. to lead the world in investing in innovative energy solutions.

Before being elected to the Senate in 2013, Booker served as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and served on its City Council.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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