Sen. Cory Booker at night one of the Democratic Debate. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — At eleven minutes and six seconds, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker got the most time in Wednesday night's Democratic Debate, according to the New York Times—and he made history on that stage, becoming the first presidential candidate to defend transgender rights in the United States.
"We have a nation where the violence against trans Americans—especially trans black women—is unconscionable, and we all should have a more courageous empathy for each other," he told WBZ NewsRadio's Laurie Kirby. "When we see such injustice, it should lead us all to speak out, to stand in alliance with folks who are facing so much injustice."
Sen. Booker spoke with Kirby the morning after the debate, covering a wide range of topics. He described what he would do with his executive pen in his first days in office, should he be elected.
"I would use it to give DACA kids that are here safety and security in our country, because they are our countrymen and women in every way except for a piece of paper," he said. "I'd rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. I'd roll back what this president has done on clean power plan, what he's done on fuel efficiency standards. I would have my DOJ step up and start going after voter suppression again."
He said his first week in office would be the "busiest days of my life."
"My left hand would be cramping up because I will be writing so many executive orders, doing so many things with the stroke of a pen to make us safer, stronger, to affirm our values," he said. "I'm going to come in with a very strong agenda of action on Day One, and that's going to lead me into the first month of my administration."
You can listen to the full interview below. Here are a few highlights:
On Gun Violence:
"Most people don't realize every day, we have 100 people roughly that die due to gun violence. Black men, who are only six percent of the nation's population, they make up over 50 percent of the homicide victims. This is an issue that is becoming a national epidemic, in terms of all the different types of communities it's now affecting, from places of worship, to concerts, to tragically schools as well. I just want folks to know that I've lived with this issue for too damn long, and I'm going to be the president that leads us to fight and win on common sense gun safety."
"Not having equal access to healthcare, you don't even get a chance to retire with the kind of security and longevity you deserve, because you had a lifetime with inadequate healthcare. This is an existential urgency, and I believe that, in the United States of America, healthcare should be a fundamental right for everyone."
On Big Pharma:
"You don't need to profiteer off of people's pain to run a successful business. There is no excuse, none, for a pharmaceutical company to charge us in America two, three, four, five times higher for the cost of a drug than in another country ... I'm gonna take away patents from these companies if they charge higher prices in this country than in others."
On Decriminalizing Border Crossings:
"This idea that the only way to get border security is to violate others' human rights and American values is absolutely wrong. We can have our values affirmed. We can declare that people don't leave their human rights at the border when they come into the country, and we can secure our borders."
On Trump's Foreign Policy:
"His drumbeat not in forcing us into a crisis with Iran when we had a deal where we stood with our allies, having their nuclear enrichment program pushed back 20 years, where we had transparency and inspectors on the ground—and now? We're at a point where they could threaten breakout to a nuclear weapon in months and drive us toward another folly of war in the Middle East. This is a guy that recklessly talks about Chairman Kim with more affection than he does our allies like Macron and Merkel and May, and doesn't actually solve the nuclear proliferation crisis in North Korea either ... this is a president who seems to be bungling this, isolating us from our allies, having better relationships with Putin and Duterte than he does with our allies."
On Climate Change:
"Our own military says this is a grave national security threat—not even 50-60 years from now, they're showing that as soon as 20-25 years from now, we could be having global consequences, not only costing our nation trillions of dollars in damage, but also causing instability around the globe that could make more extremism."
WBZ NewsRadio's Laurie Kirby (@LaurieWBZ) reports