When he was in high school, Cory Booker, the New Jersey Democrat and possible White House contender, groped his classmate as they kissed. He reached for her breast, and when she swatted his hand away, he made another attempt.
The incident resurfaced this week as Booker joined calls for an FBI investigation into the allegation of high-school-era sexual assault leveled by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
But the skeleton in Booker’s closet seized on by outlets such as Fox News and the Daily Caller wasn’t really in his closet. The senator himself chose years ago to air the issue, marking a notable contrast with instances in which accusations of impropriety burst forth as a result of media investigation or opposition research.
In 1992, Booker, then a student at Stanford University, wrote a column for his college newspaper in which he recounted the groping and used his own behavior to underscore, in starkly personal terms, how his views had shifted on gender and sexual respect. He credited his work as a peer counselor with the transformation.
“After having my hand pushed away once, I reached my ‘mark,’” he wrote. “Our groping ended soon and while no ‘relationship’ ensued, a friendship did. You see, the next week in school she told me that she was drunk that night and didn’t really know what she was doing.”
“Senator Booker’s Stanford Daily column has been the focus of disingenuous right-wing attacks that have circulated online and in partisan outlets for the past five years,” a spokeswoman for Booker said in an email. “These attacks ring hollow to anyone who reads the entirety of the column, which is in fact a direct criticism of a culture that encourages young men to take advantage of women — written at a time when so candidly discussing these issues was rare — and speaks to the impact Senator Booker’s experience working to help rape and sexual assault survivors as a college peer counselor had on him.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker