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 (D-N.J.), a 2020 White House hopeful, spoke out against sanitizing U.S. history in a new interview with The Atlantic, saying he was empowered by “knowing the bloody, violent truth of our past.”

“The idea that we’re going to create some Disney-movie version of our history is offensive to me—it diminishes who we are by not telling the truth of who we are,” Booker told the publication.


“Knowing the bloody, violent truth of our past empowers me and encourages my hope for what we have the capacity to do in our present,” he added.

Booker noted that acknowledging such aspects of U.S. history may be difficult.

“What is easy is what Donald 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 does for short term, pitiful political gain: to demonize ‘the other,’ other Americans, demean and degrade them,” he told the magazine.

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Booker gave the interview the same week he made a speech at Charleston, S.C.’s Emanuel AME Church, where white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine African Americans in 2015.

He made the speech in the wake of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, last weekend in which at least 22 people were killed. Law enforcement officers reportedly believe the suspect in the killings wrote a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto referencing a “Hispanic invasion.”

Booker’s speech also invoked gun violence in Newark, N.J., where he previously served as mayor, and the opioid crisis.

In May, Booker rolled out a 15-point plan to address gun violence, which includes proposed licensing along the lines of passport requirement s to ensure registrants are able to meet “basic safety and training standards.”

It also proposes funding for research on gun violence as a public health issue for the first time in more than two decades.

The Atlantic interviewer also mentioned to Booker that 48 were shot in Chicago this weekend.

The common thread between all the deaths, Booker responded, was that “certain lives don’t matter … and I think that’s insidious.”