Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker calls for hearings on reports of ICE using solitary confinement Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate MORE (D-N.J.) explained the side-eye look he gave when his fellow White House hopeful, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D), started speaking Spanish during the first night of Democratic presidential debates.
“I just knew he had laid a gauntlet down,” Booker told CNN’s Anderson Cooper with a chuckle. “And I was talking a little bit with [Julián] Castro. Both he and I knew, as people who can speak Spanish, that now we were gonna bring it as well.”
He added that he too “pulled out” a bit of Spanish during the two-hour debate Wednesday evening, realizing that “there’s a lot of bilingual people, some even trilingual, in this race.”
“I can’t really remember… I just knew he had laid a gauntlet down,” said a chuckling Cory Booker in response to a viral photo in which he appeared to be giving a “side eye” to rival Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkePoll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate Warren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched ‘like little prisoners’ MORE who was speaking in Spanish. #DemDebate https://t.co/BaX6F2oK1e pic.twitter.com/tKJhiZ0Vgi
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) June 26, 2019
The New Jersey Democrat’s expression went viral after O’Rourke switched from English to Spanish during a question about supporting a proposed 70 percent tax rate on Americans making more than $10 million annually.
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) June 26, 2019
Curb your enthusiasm. pic.twitter.com/I4CXxd6eyj
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) June 26, 2019
— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 26, 2019
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) June 26, 2019
Booker has previously described his Spanish language ability as conversational, but answered a question in both English and Spanish later in the evening about what he would do on his first day in office if elected president.
He blasted the Trump administration’s handling of immigration as “unacceptable” and vowed to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and end Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies he said violated the “human rights” of immigrants.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) June 26, 2019
Booker talked more than any other Democrat on the debate stage, speaking for a total of 10 minutes and 35 seconds.
O’Rourke spoke for 10 minutes and 15 seconds.