New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker got riled up Tuesday during Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Booker was upset after Nielsen refused to admit to the committee that President Donald Trump had described African nations as “s—hole” countries while discussing immigration reform during a meeting with lawmakers last week.
The New Jersey senator used the opportunity to launch into an attack against the president, while also questioning why Nielsen was not similarly upset at the president’s alleged comments.
Describing Trump’s reported remarks as hurtful, Booker claimed he was so upset that he cried “tears of rage.”
“I hurt,” Booker said. “When Dick Durbin called me I had tears of rage when I heard about this experience in that meeting.”
Durbin, a Democrat senator from Illinois who was present at the immigration reform meeting, has repeatedly stood by his claim that Trump referred to African nations with a vulgar term. The president, though, said Durbin “misrepresented” his remarks.
After relaying to Nielsen how hurt he was by Trump’s comments, Booker criticized her “complicity” in what is supposedly going on in the Trump administration, specifically noting that her refusal to confirm Trump’s remarks is “unacceptable.”
“For you not to feel that hurt and that pain and to dismiss some of the questions of my colleagues saying, ‘I’ve already answered that line of questions’ when tens of millions of Americans are hurting right now because of what they’re worried about what would happen in the White House — that’s unacceptable to me,” Booker said, raising his voice as he spoke.
Booker went on to assert that “there are threats in this country,” including death threats he and his African-American colleagues in Congress have received.
Though he claimed to “respect” the office of the president, Booker also indicated that Trump talks about the national origins of some American citizens in “the most despicable of manner(s).”
“Your silence and your amnesia is complicity,” he told Nielsen.
But according to one conservative commentator — Daily Wire Editor in Chief Ben Shapiro — Booker’s tough words are nothing more than an indication he wants to challenge Trump and run for president in 2020.
“No, Booker didn’t have ‘tears of rage,'” Shapiro wrote. “He had a presidential candidacy to launch. And if Democrats are fools enough to fall for this sort of theatrical nonsense, let them try it.”
For her part, Nielsen has focused on the fact that Trump used “tough” words in the now-infamous Oval Office meeting, and that many people present were using inappropriate language.
“I did not hear that word used,” she responded when asked if the president had used the term “s—hole.”
“The conversation was very impassioned. I don’t dispute that the president was using tough language. Others in the room were also using tough language,” she added, according to Politico.
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