It was widely expected that at today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen would be pressed on President Donald Trump reportedly calling immigrants from Haiti and African nations “people from shithole countries.” Over the weekend, Nielsen stated that she didn’t recall Trump making those remarks at an immigration meeting last week.
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) got things going at the hearing today when he directly confronted Nielsen on the president’s comments. Pointing out to her that she was under oath, Leahy asked the DHS chief if she heard Trump use shithole “or a substantially similar word to describe certain countries.”
“I did not hear that word used, no, sir,” she responded.
The Vermont lawmaker made sure Nielsen knew he was also referencing reports that the White House is essentially hanging its hat on the possibility that Trump said “shithouse” instead of “shithole” during the meeting, asking her again if Trump used anything similar to describe those countries.
“The conversation was impassioned,” Nielsen said. “I don’t dispute the president was using tough language. Others in the room were also using tough language.”
Leahy questioned her on whether POTUS used “vulgar language” regarding the countries, leading Nielsen to once again answer that Trump utilized “tough language” but so did other congressmen.
They also moved on to Trump asking why the United States could take more immigrants from Norway. With Nielsen having said the context of the meeting discussion was “merit-based immigration,” Leahy pointed out that being Norwegian isn’t a “skill.” He also asked Nielsen about Norway was a “predominately white country.”
“I actually do not know that, sir,” she replied. “But I imagine that is the case.”
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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