WASHINGTON, DC — Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, testifying before the Senate on Tuesday morning, denied that President Donald Trump used "s---hole" to describe African countries at a recent meeting on immigration policy, but acknowledged a lot of "profanity" was used by multiple attendees.
Asked whether she heard that word or one "substantially similar" to describe other countries, she said, "I did not hear that word used, no sir."
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin pressed Nielsen on the issue as she testified. The Illinois senator, who was the only Democrat in the meeting, previously confirmed multiple anonymously sourced reports that Trump used the word.
"How did he characterize those countries from Africa?" Durbin asked.
"I don't remember a categorization of countries from Africa," Nielsen said. "There was a lot of rough talk by a lot of people in the room, but what I understood him to be saying is, let's move away from the countries, and let's look at the individual and make sure that those we bring can contribute to society."
When Durbin pressed again about what "strong language" the president had used, Nielsen said she didn't remember.
In a heated moment, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey slammed Nielsen's pleas of ignorance.
"When ignorance and bigotry is allied with power, it's a dangerous force in our country," he told the secretary. "Your silence and your amnesia is complicity."
He said her refusal to answer further questions about the matter was "unacceptable."
Sen. Booker to DHS Sec. Nielsen, who was in White House immigration meeting: "When ignorance and bigotry is allied with power, it is a dangerous force in our country. Your silence and your amnesia is complicity." pic.twitter.com/eR4zAsE2jF
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 16, 2018
Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia were also in the meeting. After first saying they did not "recall" Trump using the word, "s---hole," they said definitively on Sunday that he did not use this word. Reporting from The Washington Post has suggested that they may believe Trump instead used the word "s---house," leaving them a technical loophole to denying the slur.
In an interview with CNN, Durbin has denied these claims — but he also argued that regardless of the suffix, Trump's remarks were deeply objectionable.
"They're wrong. I can tell you explicitly that they're wrong," he said. "Is that they're defense?"
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has neither denied nor confirmed Trump specific use of the slur, but he did say he objected to some of Trump's language at the time.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
Source : https://patch.com/us/white-house/dhs-secretary-trumps-vulgarity-i-did-not-hear-word