- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2019

Sen. Cory A. Booker on Thursday said that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden hasn’t had the “courage” to own up and admit that tough-on-crime policies Mr. Biden championed in the past have negatively affected the U.S.

“There are people in jail right now, unjustly, for the kind of laws that the vice president has bragged about having his name on and obviously leading,” Mr. Booker said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “If the vice president ends up being our nominee, God, especially in communities like Detroit where I am, he’s going to have to own up to what he did then.”

Mr. Booker, who tangled with Mr. Biden at Wednesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate over criminal justice issues, said he’s not looking to “sucker punch” Mr. Biden, touting his own history as a longtime advocate on the issue.

“No, I don’t think he’s had the courage to look the American public in the eye and [say], this was wildly wrong, it cost us billions of dollars, it chewed up human potential, it didn’t lift people up, we were [unnecessarily locking] folks up,” Mr. Booker said.

He said Mr. Biden did acknowledge during Wednesday’s debate that it was a mistake when he supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Mr. Biden said he used bad judgement in trusting President George W. Bush and that he swiftly opposed the engagement after it started.

“If you want to appeal to communities like mine, where I live, or communities like this in Detroit in a state where we lost by not having the kind of African-American turnout we should have had, God, we got to have leaders that can stand up and speak to the past, to the problem of mass incarceration now and show a bold vision to put us in line with other developed in terms of things like incarceration,” Mr. Booker said.

At the debate, Mr. Biden said he and Mr. Booker aren’t that far apart on the issue now and that he worked to end the sentencing disparity for offenses related to crack cocaine versus powder cocaine, for example.

He also tried to turn things back on Mr. Booker, saying the Newark, New Jersey, police department had its own issues tied to “stop-and-frisk” policies when Mr. Booker was the mayor.

“Mr. Vice President, there’s a saying in my community, you’re dipping into the Kool-Aid, and you don’t even know the flavor,” Mr. Booker shot back. “You need to come to the city of Newark and see the reforms that we put in place.”

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