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Cory Booker, a possible 2020 candidate under attack from Trump, heads to Hollywood for campaign cash

The trip to the West Coast is the latest stop on a busy national travel schedule for the New Jersey Democrat who isn't up for re-election this year.
Image: Cory Booker speaks before Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies in Washington
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., at a Kavanaugh nomination hearing on Sept. 6, has said he's looking at a possible bid for the White House.Alex Brandon / AP

LOS ANGELES — Sen. Cory Booker, who has raised his profile as part of the Democratic charge against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, will headline a fundraiser later this month in Los Angeles, NBC News has learned — an event that is sure to fuel speculation about the New Jersey Democrat's presidential ambitions.

The Hollywood fundraiser is one of several that Booker will headline in the next few weeks. Previously reported stops include the Iowa Democratic Party's fall fundraising gala in Des Moines on Saturday and an Oct. 18 event for South Carolina's Orangeburg County Democratic Party.

The West Coast fundraiser will be held at the home of Simon Kinberg, the Hollywood producer behind film franchises like "X-Men" and "Deadpool." Tickets start at $150, with chair level donations at $5,000.

While the event is in support of Booker's Senate campaign, the fundraiser is likely to gauge Hollywood's enthusiasm for a presidential bid. Booker is up for re-election to the Senate in 2020.

Booker, a former Newark, New Jersey, mayor, has said he's looking at a possible bid for the White House.

President Donald Trump has taken to attacking Booker, criticizing him twice on Monday during a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House and later at a rally in Tennessee — attacks that are only adding to speculation that Booker could get in the race.

"Take a look at Cory Booker," Trump said. "He ran Newark, New Jersey, into the ground. He was a horrible mayor and he made statements that is when he was in high school or college, what he was doing. He made the statements. Now he is talking about Judge Kavanaugh." Later, at the campaign rally, Trump told the crowd to "see what he said about women."

The president's comments may be a reference to a column Booker wrote for The Stanford Daily.

In 1992, Booker wrote about his high school attempt at "stealing second" before going on to criticize the way men treat women. He said his views stemmed from hearing from victims of sexual violence. "The conversations were personal accounts, not rhetoric; they were real life, not dorm programming. It was a wake-up call," Booker wrote, according to an account Monday in USA Today.

Booker isn't the only presidential hopeful swinging through Los Angeles this month.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will headline a fundraiser in Beverly Hills on Wednesday. Tickets for the Biden event, hosted at the offices of Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, are $5,000 a head.