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Cory Booker explains why he gave Beto O'Rourke the viral 'side-eye' during debate

'We were gonna bring it'

Image source: NBC News video screenshot

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) shot a side-eye glare at fellow candidate Beto O'Rourke when the former Texas congressman busted out his Spanish skills during the first Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday night. After leaving the stage, Booker explained what he was thinking in that moment ā€” which has now gone viral.

What are the details?

O'Rourke was the first candidate to speak Spanish during the debate, but the look on Booker's face is what seemed to garner the most attention. Twitter buzzed as a cutaway shot showed the New Jersey senator's expression and viewers began to speculate over what was going through Booker's head.

"I just knew he had laid a gauntlet down," Booker told CNN's Anderson Cooper when he was asked about O'Rourke's move during a post-debate interview. "And I was talking a little bit with [Julian] Castro. Both he and I knew, as people who can speak Spanish, that now we were gonna bring it as well."

Booker said that he didn't remember exactly what he was thinking, but added, "I saw [O'Rourke] pull it out, and I realized that there's a lot of bilingual people, some even trilingual, in this race, and I'm happy to have those skills."

Anything else?

Booker followed O'Rourke's lead during the debate, and took the opportunity to answer a question in Spanish, himself. The former mayor of Newark was also teased online for his rather forceful delivery, and conservative pundit Caleb Hull referred to him as "one angry hombre."

Late-night television hosts took notice, too, with Jimmy Fallon joking that Booker sounded like "Arnold Schwarzenegger learning Rosetta Stone."

One last thing…
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