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VIDEO: Booker Rebukes DHS Secretary During Judiciary Committee Hearing

“This is personal for me,” Booker says “Your silence and amnesia is complicity”

January 16, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) today harshly rebuked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about her failure to remember or condemn Trump’s racist comments made last week in the Oval Office.

This issue “is very personal for me,” Booker said. “I sit here right now because when good white people in this country heard bigotry or hatred they stood up. Moving into my home community we were denied housing because of the color of our skin and it was white Americans from Bergen County [New Jersey] who banded together to fight against racism…What went on in the White House – what went on in the Oval Office – is profoundly disturbing to me.”

“I’ve been in the Oval Office many times. When the Commander-in-Chief speaks, I listen. I don’t have amnesia on conversations I had in the Oval Office going back months and months and months,” Booker continued.

“When the Commander-in-Chief speaks or refuses to speak, those words don't just dissipate like mist in the air. They fester. They become poison. They give license to bigotry and hate in our country."

“When ignorance and bigotry is allied with power, it’s a dangerous force in our country. Your silence and amnesia is complicity.”

“You don’t remember?” Booker asked Nielsen. “You can’t remember the words of your Commander in Chief? I find that unacceptable.”

Booker also referenced a GAO report released last year showing that of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in deaths since September 12, 2001, far-right wing violent extremist groups were responsible for 73 percent.

“I don’t know if 73 percent of your time is spent on white supremacist hate groups,” Booker added.

Booker also asked the DHS Secretary if she had ever met a dreamer, to which she replied that she hadn’t. DHS is the agency responsible for overseeing the country’s immigration policy.

“For your knowledge a lot of these folks are hanging not only in the balance of waiting for policy but it’s an anxiety that’s undermining their life...what’s happening to them right now is unacceptable treatment to people who are fellow Americans but for the documentation,” Booker said.

Booker was appointed to the Judiciary Committee last week, along with Senator Kamala Harris. The pair are only the second and third African-Americans to ever serve on the Judiciary Committee in its 201-year history.

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