In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Wednesday responded to GOP operatives’ claims that he “mansplained” racism to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — and doubled down on his claim that she’s complicit with President Donald Trump’s “bigotry.”
Booker explained that his emotional confrontation with Nielsen stemmed from the DHS secretary seeming to “remain silent” in the face of Trump’s “bile and bigotry,” as well as her apparent lies before the Senate about overhearing the president’s “sh*thole countries” comment.
“Those words don’t just dissipate,” Booker said. “They fester, they poison, they hurt, and they give license to people who peddle that hate into violence.”
The New Jersey Democrat then drew comparisons between the “sh*thole countries” remarks and white supremacist groups.
“We saw it with white supremacist groups using Donald Trump’s lack of condemnation of their actions in Charlottesville in their propaganda,” Booker said. “We’ve had about 85 terroristic attacks since 9/11. Over 70 percent have been from white nationalist groups — shootings in churches, attacks on Muslims.”
“To see the real fear in communities and to see this woman be just a bystander, following orders, doing what she’s told, as opposed to stepping up, calling it out, telling the truth like Republican [Senator] Lindsey Graham (R-SC) did — that just set me off, not understanding that link,” he continued.
“I don’t take that amnesia,” Booker said of Nielsen’s remark that she could not recall what was said in the meeting. “I don’t take that not remembering what her boss is saying, what the commander-in-chief is saying on something as heated and derogatory and bigoted as those words were, I don’t buy it.”
Watch the interview below, via CNN: