New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is the latest Democratic candidate to throw his hat in the ring for 2020, entering an already crowded pool expected to fill up even further in the coming months.
Booker kicked off his presidential campaign Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month, with a 2:26-minute-long video called “We Will Rise,” delivering a message of unity over clips of Newark, where he served as mayor from 2006 to 2013.
“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten,” he said in the video. “No one is left behind.”
Here’s how people are reacting to the launch of Booker’s campaign.
Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York senator who announced in January that she would be forming an exploratory committee for 2020, teased to a Marie Claire video of the lawmaker and Booker playing a game of “How Well Do You Know Your Co-Worker?” calling him one of her “closest friends.”
“Congratulations and welcome to the race to one of my closest friends, @CoryBooker!” she wrote on Twitter. “I’ll be cheering you on — just, you know, not TOO hard.”
Gillibrand appears to be the only one of Booker’s now-competitors to extend the welcome. A total of 10 candidates have announced they are running for president or have launched of an exploratory committee.
President Donald Trump didn’t make any mention of Booker’s run Friday morning, but the Republican Party jumped in to toss a few punches at the new candidate.
“Cory Booker is a political opportunist who left Newark ridden with crime and an ‘emblem of poverty,’" Republican National Committee spokesperson Michael Ahrens said in a statement. “Even the liberal base thinks he’s a disingenuous self-promoter.”
The GOP’s Twitter account attacked Booker’s mayorship, drawing attention to crime rates.
“During Cory Booker’s tenure as Mayor of Newark, he promised to make the city safer and more prosperous. Instead, violent crime ROSE by 33% and the city remained “an emblem of poverty,” the party wrote. “Cory Booker is more interested in publicity than the public’s interests.”
The hype largely surrounded Booker’s announcement video, which amassed more than 1 million views by mid-morning.
There were a couple references to Drumline, the 2002 comedy starring Nick Cannon and Zoe Saldana, including from Martine Powers, who hosts the Washington Post’s new podcast, “Post Reports.”
Celebrities like actress Alyssa Milano weighed in, saying it brought her “to tears,” while activist Michael Skolnik expressed his approval with an emoji.
Others shared the video for its quality, attempting to put politics aside. CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck said it stood out from other campaign videos for its creativity.
Between Booker’s release of previously confidential documents during the hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his well, general vocalness on Twitter, many weren’t exactly caught off guard by his announcement — it’s “about as surprising as the sun rising,” remarked one user from New Jersey.
Or maybe even as surprising as the Pacific Northwest's rainy weather.