Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said Thursday that if elected president he would create a new White House office focused on hate crimes and white supremacist violence, becoming the latest Democratic presidential hopeful to outline plans to combat domestic terrorism in the wake of massacres in Texas and Ohio this month.
“We won’t succeed in reducing hate crimes and violence motivated by white supremacy without improving the response of federal and local authorities and fostering better communication and collaboration with impacted communities,” Booker said in the plan, which also seeks to address the spread of “hate, fear, and violence” on social media.
Booker’s new White House Office on Hate Crimes and White Supremacist Violence would seek to improve coordination between federal agencies and community organizations, according to his plan, which also includes provisions related to crime reporting and data collection.
Booker would also require the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and FBI to conduct assessments of the threats posed by white supremacists and provide annual reports to Congress.
The plan comes on the heels of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, nearly two weeks ago. Law enforcement authorities believe the alleged gunman posted an anti-immigrant missive online before the crime decrying an “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” They say he told them he was targeting “Mexicans.”
Following that massacre, which left 22 dead, and one the following day in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine dead, several Democratic candidates have released plans to address hate-inspired crimes and gun violence more broadly.
On Tuesday, for instance, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., unveiled a proposal that includes that includes a “red flag” law for suspected terrorists and hate crime perpetrators
Other Democrats who’ve announced plans include former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Last week, Booker delivered a speech from the pulpit at Emanuel AME Zion church in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine people were killed by a white supremacist in 2015. In his remarks, Booker castigated the bigots he said had made America “fertile ground” for killings fueled by bias and animus and admonished those he said mistakenly believe they can sit on the sidelines in the fight against hatred.