Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Sunday slammed North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn after he attacked his Democratic opponent with what appeared to be a racist smear that also accused the Black senator of aiming “to ruin white males.”
“It just really personally saddens me that somebody who is so clearly racist is a nominee of a major party, and I think it’s a disrespect of the entire community,” Booker told HuffPost in an interview Sunday. “It’s really unfortunate.”
Cawthorn, 25, is a white GOP candidate whom President Donald Trump and national Republicans have backed; he spoke at the Republican National Convention in August. He’s favored to win the race for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, a rural seat previously held by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Earlier this week, Cawthorn’s campaign put up a website slamming his Democratic opponent, Moe Davis, alleging that a Pulitzer Prize-winning local journalist, Tom Fiedler, worked with Davis allies. He described Fiedler, who is white, as working for “non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males.” (Davis is also white.)
Cawthorn later claimed in a statement the website contained a “syntax error” that was “unclear and unfairly implied I was criticizing Cory Booker.” The website now calls Fiedler “an unapologetic defender of left-wing identity politics,” according to The Washington Post.
But Booker — who accused Trump of regularly hitting him and other Black members of Congress with racist stereotypes — said he took the attack from Cawthorn’s campaign personally because he spent time in the district when he was younger.
“My dad worked in that district. My dad is from Hendersonville, North Carolina, and I know the grace and goodness of that district,” Booker told HuffPost.
The New Jersey senator connected Cawthorn’s “rank racism” to a broader trend within the GOP under Trump, including...