The theatrical, 11-minute-long “lecture” by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) during a Senate hearing last week was “inappropriate” and “an unfortunate waste of all of our time,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday.
Booker made headlines and liberal praise when he yelled at Nielsen during the January 16 hearing, grilling her on President Donald Trump’s alleged “s***holes” description of Haiti and several African nations.
Nielsen said on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria” that Booker’s outburst “became 11 minutes of a lecture about a meeting he was not in, about one word, and about whether or not I heard it.”
Nielsen conceded that Trump used “tough language,” but denied hearing the words “s***hole” or “s***house.” Booker then raised his voice, interrupted Nielsen and moralized at length with righteous indignation about how her “amnesia is complicity.”
"Well, to be honest, it was a distraction and it was very frustrating to me on behalf of the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security because I was there to talk about real threats and their needs to do their job that the American people asked them to do," Nielsen said.
Booker claimed he cried "tears of rage" when Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told him about the president's vulgar language.
"And 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 happened in the White House, that's unacceptable to me," Booker told Nielsen.
But Nielsen said Trump's use of tough language when discussing immigration did not warrant such an over-the-top interrogation from Booker because "there was really no story there."
"[Booker] didn't ask me what I think, he didn't ask me what I think about the countries, he didn't ask me what I think about immigration policy, he has no interest in what the secretary of homeland security thinks," Nielsen said. "He just wanted to lecture me for 11 minutes, and it was an unfortunate waste of all of our time when we could have been focused on the needs and threats we have."
When host Maria Bartiromo asked Nielsen if she felt harassed by Booker during the hearing, she said his behavior was "inappropriate."
"It's a workplace environment. It didn't seem constructive to me. It didn't seem productive. It wasn't a conversation," Nielsen said. "There wasn't any opportunity for me to explain how I feel, which I would think is what he'd be interested in as the secretary of homeland security."
"So it was a bit confusing as to why he felt that it was appropriate to tell what I heard and didn't hear when he wasn't even there," Nielsen said.
Last Modified: January 25, 2018, 8:47 am