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.) explained the side-eye look he gave when his fellow White House hopeful, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D), started speaking Spanish during the first night of Democratic presidential debates.

“I just knew he had laid a gauntlet down,” Booker told CNN’s Anderson Cooper with a chuckle. “And I was talking a little bit with [Julián] Castro. Both he and I knew, as people who can speak Spanish, that now we were gonna bring it as well.”

He added that he too “pulled out” a bit of Spanish during the two-hour debate Wednesday evening, realizing that “there’s a lot of bilingual people, some even trilingual, in this race.”


The New Jersey Democrat’s expression went viral after O’Rourke switched from English to Spanish during a question about supporting a proposed 70 percent tax rate on Americans making more than $10 million annually.

Booker has previously described his Spanish language ability as conversational, but answered a question in both English and Spanish later in the evening about what he would do on his first day in office if elected president.

He blasted the Trump administration’s handling of immigration as “unacceptable” and vowed to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and end Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies he said violated the “human rights” of immigrants.

Booker talked more than any other Democrat on the debate stage, speaking for a total of 10 minutes and 35 seconds.

O’Rourke spoke for 10 minutes and 15 seconds.

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