By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published March 18, 2019
"I am for capitalism and I'm tired of companies engaging in socialism where they outsource their costs... I am a capitalist. Monopolies are not capitalism... I'm not a socialist. I am a Democrat. I believe in fundamental Democratic principles. I believe that we need more democracy, not less," the New Jersey Democrat told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
The cable news host also brought up then-President Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon in 1974 -- and posed a hypothetical to Booker.
“Would you consider pardoning Trump if you took the presidency?” Matthews asked.
“No,” Booker firmly responded.
“Why?” Matthews followed. “You said you want to unite the country. Wouldn’t that unite the country?”
Booker asked for clarification as to what crime Trump may have committed, which Matthews responded with “obstruction of justice,” something the MSNBC host insisted is “certainly in play.”
“This is why our justice system has lost so much legitimacy,” Booker continued. “We have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. There’s a whole bunch of people that, if I’m president, that I’m looking to pardon or who are being punished unjustly in this country.”
The former Newark mayor cited statistics that showed more arrests in 2017 were related to marijuana than to all violent crimes combined. He said the “privileged” on Yale University’s campus and presidents and senators who have “bragged” about smoking marijuana benefited from a double standard as opposed to young people who have criminal records for doing the same.
“Now we’re talking about a billionaire getting another pardon,” Booker said.