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October 10, 2017

Cory Booker to Seth Meyers: Both Democrats and Republicans are worried about Donald Trump

New Jersey senator talks gun control, too

It didn't take long for Cory Booker's discussion with "Late Night" host Seth Meyers Monday night to turn to President Donald Trump.

In Booker's guest appearance on the show, Meyers asked the junior U.S. Senator from New Jersey about a back-and-forth feud over the weekend between Trump and Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee that included Corker telling The New York Times that Trump was treating his office like "a reality show" and that the president's threats toward other countries could lead the country "on the path into World War III."

"This is one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington, that Republicans and Democrats are very worried about the person that's sitting in the White House," said Booker, who sits with Corker on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "You have an administration who has been savagely cutting diplomacy, even the funding of things that keep regions stable."

"I've been grateful for Senator Corker's leadership in trying to keep us together in a bipartisan way to try to push back against the White House," he added. "We have work to do. This is a very serious reality, especially with the important role the United States has been playing in stabilizing regions with high instability, in dealing with global terrorism. We've been a very good leader and now it seems we're pulling back."

The conversation also touched on gun control.

Booker, a Democrat, was among a slew of co-sponsors for a bipartisan gun control bill introduced in the U.S. Senate that would ban the sale of bump stock devices used by a gunman who killed 58 people and injured hundreds more when he opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1.

But speaking in broader terms Monday night, Booker said it'll take a collective effort on the part of American citizens to turn the tide on the country's gun violence problem.

"We in America, we forget the power that we have to make change," Booker said. "We didn't get civil rights legislation because [former South Carolina senator] Strom Thurmond sat there and said, 'OK, yeah, I'm going to do that, I'm going to give equal rights to folks.' No, it was Americans demanding it, fighting for it, getting up every single day."

The bill proposed in the Senate this month would ban devices that can effectively turn a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic one.

The powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, said in a statement last Thursday that it would support restrictions on bump stocks. But the NRA's chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, did not express support for the proposed legislation when asked about it in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." 

While he agreed that bump stocks should be "regulated differently,"  he said the gun lobby doesn't "believe that bans have ever worked on anything." He also said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, not Congress, should first take action on the matter by reviewing the devices.

But in hammering the gun violence issue Monday night, Booker said the overwhelming majority of Americans "think we should do something about it."

"The opposite of justice is not injustice, it's indifference," he said. "It's inaction. We as Americans who believe this passionately have to get engaged, have to start pressuring, have to start fighting, or else I fear that we're going to see this continue on a daily basis."