Democratic Sen. Cory A. Booker on Tuesday assured MSNBC host Joy Reid that Republican Sen. Tim Scott is being “sincere” in his bipartisan push for police reform.
During an appearance on “The ReidOut,” Mr. Booker said he was “encouraged by the progress we’ve made” during weeks of bipartisan negotiations to pass a police reform bill, despite missing a deadline set by President Biden of the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder Tuesday.
Mr. Scott, the Senate’s only Black Republican, is the lead GOP negotiator of the bill.
Mr. Booker said he thinks negotiators “can get something really meaningful and really substantive that will save Black lives.”
Ms. Reid, who has frequently described Mr. Scott as a “token” Black Republican, expressed her doubts.
“Are you going to be able to get to a place of agreement with Republicans who are so beholden to police unions?” she asked.
“I’m working principally with Tim Scott and a handful of others,” Mr. Booker responded, Newsbusters’ Curtis Houck first reported. “I have had moments in this negotiation that have given me solace and strength as I’ve watched Tim Scott share stories about his own encounters with police, even as a United States senator. He is not caving to the politics of this. He is sincere. We may have disagreements on a lot of the parts of the bill, but I’m telling you, as a Black man, Tim Scott is sincere in wanting to see us address these problems.”
“But does Tim Scott have the ability to deliver votes?” Ms. Reid asked. “I mean we have no doubt his sincerity, but his party has veered so far off the rails to the right — how much influence does he have over them at this point?”
Mr. Booker said he‘s gone into negotiations with an open mind and is confident they will reach an agreement.
“I’ve had to go into this with good faith — not painting all police with a broad brush, not painting all Republicans with a broad brush, but talking heart-to-heart often, as well as policy, on what our shared values are and how we’re going to get this done,” he said. “And so, I’ve had Tim come and answer my questions about the support he has from Mitch McConnell to Lindsey Graham. And again, I’m putting my faith — this is the moment when we rise to the call of history.”
“Well, we hope that you succeed,” Ms. Reid replied.