There may as well have been a banner hanging in the grand marble meeting room that housed Jeff Sessions’ hearings for attorney general: Booker 2020.
After 10.5 hours of questioning on Tuesday, Wednesday’s panel of witnesses felt less urgent alongside Donald Trump’s press conference and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s hearings beginning a building away. But Booker, swarmed by far more cameras than any other witness of the day when he entered the room, used the afternoon to take a splashy stand and lay groundwork for a potential 2020 presidential run.
“In a choice between standing with Senate norms and standing up for what my conscience tells me is best for our country, I will always choose conscience and country,” the junior Democratic senator from New Jersey said, acknowledging his unprecedented move. He’s believed to be the first sitting senator to testify against a colleague for a Cabinet post.
With members of the Congressional Black Caucus sitting behind him, Booker made an impassioned plea for the committee to oppose Sessions, citing the Alabama Senator’s record on voting rights, LGBTQ equality, immigration and criminal justice reform.