Booker launches campaign tour starting in New Jersey

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE will officially launch his Democratic presidential campaign Saturday at an event in his hometown of Newark, N.J., where he previously served as mayor for seven years.

Booker will hold a “hometown kickoff” in downtown Newark midday Saturday, with stops in Iowa, Georgia and Nevada planned for the coming days.

The Associated Press reported that Booker is planning to use the event to frame why he would be the best candidate to take on President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE next year, while the location allows him to appear before a crowd in friendly territory.

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Booker’s campaign manager described the candidate’s strategy to reporters as a slow-burning fire that would “organize and get hot at the end,” according to the AP.

“We’re trying to win the election — we’re not trying to win a news cycle,” Addisu Demissie said.

Booker is currently polling lower than several other Democratic hopefuls, including Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, who has not formally announced a bid.

The New Jersey senator has also been overtaken in the key primary state of Iowa in recent days by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D), who has enjoyed a surge in some polling.

On Friday, Booker torched Trump’s reported plans to pardon Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief Kevin McAleenan if CBP took any action to stop illegal migration for which McAleenan was deemed legally liable.

CNN reported Friday that two anonymous sources close to the situation said Trump told McAleenan that he “would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying U.S. entry to migrants.” The Department of Homeland Security quickly issued a statement denying that the president had suggested McAleenan take any illegal measures to secure the border.

“That should shake every American. We basically have a president telling people to break the law and that he will pardon you,” Booker told MSNBC’s Joy Reid.

“And again, we’re sitting in Newark, where kids are going to prison for things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing, and nobody’s pardoning them,” Booker continued, referring to smoking marijuana.

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