Cory Booker
Cory BookerReuters

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has clarified that he would not meet with Nation of Islam leader and notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, JTA reported Monday.

“I will not sit — I will not sit down with Louis Farrakhan, period. And I reject anybody who preaches that kind of bigotry and hate towards other Americans,” Booker was quoted as having told CNN.

Asked if he stood by his remarks made in June at a faith breakfast campaign event in South Carolina, in which he said in answer to a question from an audience member about whether he would avoid Farrakhan over his anti-Semitism, Booker said, “As mayor I met with lots of folks talking to him. I have heard Minister Farrakhan’s speeches for a lot of my life, so I don’t feel like I need to do that, but I’m not one of these people that says I wouldn’t sit down with anybody to hear what they have to say.”

A Booker spokeswoman later told JTA, “Cory unequivocally rejects and condemns Farrakhan’s hateful views” and noted that Booker has never met with Farrakhan.

Booker had told CNN that his statement from the June event was taken out of context.

Over the years, Farrakhan has blamed Jews for the trans-Atlantic slave trade and American slavery, accused American Jews of being part of the “Synagogue of Satan”, compared Jews to termites, warned of the eventual annihilation of whites, claimed that white people were artificially created by a mad scientist and calling them only “potential humans”, accused “the Jews” of helping Adolf Hitler “get the Third Reich on the road”.

Last year, he called the Talmud “filthy, so filthy,” and “ugly”, while deriding Jews as “Satanic people”.

Earlier this year Farrakhan led a chant of “Death to Israel, Death to America” during a visit to Tehran.

More recently, in May, Farrakhan denied having ever used hateful or bigoted rhetoric, but once again referenced “Satanic Jews”, even though he said he did not believe all Jews fell into this category.