Sen. Cory Booker officially launched his 2020 presidential campaign for president on Friday, joining a fast-growing field of hopefuls who are vying to take on President Donald Trump.
The New Jersey Democrat released a video and sent an email to supporters announcing his decision to run for the White House, invoking a message of economic populism and racial justice along with a veiled swipe at the president's leadership.
"I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame," Booker said.
"It is not a matter of can we, it's a matter of do we have the collective will, the American will? I believe we do. Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose. Together, America, we will rise."
Booker, 43, who previously served as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, is the second African-American to enter the 2020 race, after Sen. Kamala Harris of California. His decision to announce his candidacy on Feb. 1 — the first day of Black History Month — could be seen as a nod to the historic nature of his bid to become the nation's second black president.
"The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it," Booker said.
Booker was elected to the Senate in 2013 and has earned a reputation as one of the body's most outspoken members. His profile grew as he fiercely criticized both the president and his policies.
He made history in 2017 when, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, he took a seat in front of the panel and testifiedagainst then-Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination for attorney general. He was also part of the Democratic charge against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and prompted controversy releasing a batch of documents about Trump's pick for the high court.
Despite his role as an adversary of the Trump administration, Booker also helped shepherd the White House's sweeping criminal justice reform billthrough the Senate, which the president signed into law last year.
Booker's campaign said it plans to reject corporate donors, super PACs and contributions from federal lobbyists.
Booker plans to travel to the early states of Iowa and South Carolina next week and New Hampshire over President's Day weekend. He gave the keynote address at the Iowa Democratic Party's Fall Gala in October.