Newark mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker is under scrutiny for Twitter messages he exchanged with a Portland, Ore. stripper in March.
After tweeting that he wanted to be the president of New Jersey’s Star Trek club, Lynsie Lee, who works at a vegan strip club in Portland, messaged him publicly, “”if you’re ever POTUS I call dibs on First Lady.”
Booker responded back privately, “And The East Coast loves you and by the East Coast, I mean me,” to which Lee replied that she was blushing. About a day later, Booker said “It’s only fair,” and that was the end of their conversation. Until now.
Buzzfeed ran an article with the tweets exchanged between the two, as well as some not safe for work pictures of Lee. Lee apparently leaked Booker’s private messages to the site, and other news organizations followed up on the story.
As far as “sex” scandals go, this one is fairly tame. As the Los Angeles Times points out, Booker is single, no naughty pictures were exchanged, and there was no sex between the two. Even Lee seemed to agree that the attention was “pointless”, saying “I’m the vulgar one! He’s completely innocent” and “Some people think, ‘Stripper’: Raunchy! Nasty! Dirty! Dumb! But in Portland, the girls here are different.” She pointed out that many of her fellow strippers have master’s degrees and Ph.D’s.
Booker’s campaign downplayed the messages as well, saying “The only mildly surprising thing about this story is the news that there’s a vegan strip club in Portland.” And honestly, is that really all that surprising?
It’s tough to say how this might affect Booker’s campaign. On the one hand, Anthony Weiner saw his New York mayoral aspirations go up in smoke after a sexting scandal, and everyone remembers how his career as a Congressman ended after his dalliances over Twitter. But closer examination of Booker’s conversation reveal that, at worst, he was being flirty. And if a single politician isn’t allowed to be flirty — even with a vegan strip club dancer — then there really is no hope for American politics.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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