I have to admit, when I see Newark’s Cory Booker on TV or hear him on the radio, I swoon a little, and not just for his contagious smile. The very first time I saw Booker, the Rhodes Scholar with degrees from Yale, Stanford and Oxford, I knew that he was the perfect fit for struggling Newark, NJ, and potentially one day, for the country. Despite an education that could write him a high seven-figure ticket in nearby New York City, Booker chose to dedicate his education to public service, a term he takes very literally, as demonstrated last night when he and his security team ran into a burning building to save a neighbor.
He had returned home and was alerted to flames shooting out of a second-floor window by his security detail. Flanked by the two detectives, Booker rushed toward the building, he said.
“Something exploded and sent a lot of flames over the steps, and my detail just grabbed me and started trying to drag me out of there,” he said.
There was a “bit of an altercation,” but he convinced the security personnel to let him go.
He told CBS This Morning:
“I couldn’t see anything but the flames coming out of the kitchen,” he said. “I really had this moment where I thought, ‘I think I’m trapped. I think we can’t get out.’”
At that point, the mayor claims he “punched through the kitchen,” sustaining burns on his left hand, then escaped to safety. The woman, who has not been named, reportedly sustained second-degree burns on her back and neck.
“Today, I have this incredible feeling,” he said. “Yesterday, all my problems were really big to me. Today, things feel a lot more clear and I have a lot more respect for firefighters.”
Here’s the video:
Booker is no stranger to getting his hands dirty, so to speak. In 2010, when New Jersey suffered one of the biggest blizzards in its history, Booker shoveled snow while the state’s governor, Chris Christie, went to Disney World.
Instead of living in the mayoral quarters, Booker lives in a fairly run down part of the city.
Booker has now become a Twitter legend, outdoing even Chuck Norris on #corybookerstories, with tweets like, “When Chuck Norris has nightmares, Cory Booker turns on the light and sits with him until he falls back asleep,” and “Ghosts sit around the campfire and tell Cory Booker stories.”
Not to be outdone, Chris Christie will probably shout at a constituent later today.