2020 hopeful Cory Booker says nation needs "revival of civic grace," responds to Trump jab

Cory Booker on 2020, need for "civic grace"

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker says the country needs a revival of "civic grace" as he enters a potentially stacked presidential primary by throwing his name into the 2020 race. He told "CBS This Morning" on Monday that what his career has shown is that "when you bring people together...you can get things done that make a real difference."

Elected to the Senate in 2013 after serving as mayor of Newark, New Jersey for more than 7 years, Booker said that he's had a "very unique political path" which has forced him to run toward some of the "toughest problems" facing the country. 

Booker announced his intentions to join the already packed 2020 Democratic presidential race last week with a video urging unity in a divided country. 

"We are better when we help each other," he said in the official campaign kickoff. "I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame."

President Trump told CBS' "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan that he sees "no chance" in a Booker challenge in 2020.  Booker, however, says that feeling of being "underestimated" in his political career is something  "every American knows about."

"I think every American knows about being underestimated, being demeaned or just put down, it's something I faced all my political career in Newark going up against the machine. Look, the history of our country is a history of people underestimating this nation and doing impossible things, so we don't need a president that's going to put down people or divide people. This is really one of those times in American history I think we need a revival of civic grace and bringing people together," said Booker. 

Booker said more than ever, the country is in need of leadership that reminds the American people that there's a "common pain" and "common purpose" in the country. 

Those pains, Booker said, include the issue of health care, something he says is "a right" that's "popular on both sides of the aisle."

"I've gone across this country...everybody agrees that in the United States of America that we should never have somebody who does not have access to care because they can't afford it," said Booker. The senator is just one of the many Democrats who supports a potentially costly "Medicare For All" single payer plan that would create a universal coverage system. 

He added that lawmakers need to now focus on pathways supported by the "majority of Americans" that "massively expand access to health care and lower the costs." 

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    Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital