POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

What’s Next? Booker Convenes Women Activists to Strategize After D.C. March

By David Cruz
Correspondent

Whether he wants to own it or not, Sen. Cory Booker is fast becoming the face of what Democrats are calling the “diverse resistance movement.” In the wake of this weekend’s Women’s March on Washington, Booker gathered with supporters, advocates and organizers to harness momentum and plot strategy.

“You all should think about what you want from me to be able to communicate with more detail, ‘hey, here are 10 things that have happened in Donald Trump’s first two weeks that you should be aware of’ and then open it up for a conversation,” Booker told the women.

Lois Fitton, a Hunterdon County organizer for the Women’s March on Washington, echoed the call to action. “We’re sort of on the forefront,” she said, “but there are a lot of people who just want one thing they can do every day and we have to give them, I call it my 1,461 days of action because I will have an action every day and it might not change the world but I will get up every day and I know what I need to do.”

The women at today’s meeting are counting on Booker to help them chart a course in an environment where the left has been rocked onto its heels by, first, the president’s victory itself, but then secondly by his threats to undo much of the Obama administration’s policies by executive order, as he did in his first three days on the Affordable Care Act and women’s reproductive rights.

“I think the administration has shown, certainly during the campaign, that reproductive rights are going to be under attack,” warned Christine Sadovy, advocacy director for Planned Parenthood of Central and Greater Northern New Jersey, “so they certainly, with that first executive order, have followed through on some of those promises showed that, so we hope that they’ll see the response, the Women’s March and the continued response on the ground because … this can’t be the end, it’s just the beginning of the movement.”

But Booker was somber in his assessment of the effect the Trump administration could have.

“Here’s a person that bullied and demeaned his way into office and what have you seen? It is absolutely connected where you’ve seen this rise in hate crimes in our country, that you’ve seen people feeling almost entitled now to speak down to their fellow Americans and that is a reality, unfortunately, that’s very sobering for me,” he said.

Asked if he thought Trump was a legitimate president, Booker said, “He’s got to earn the respect of the American people and that question is still open. In the first two days of his presidency, I don’t think he did a very good job at that.”

The weekend’s march drew larger numbers than expected, but it remains to be seen whether this moment will actually become a movement — and whether this president will even acknowledge it exists.