Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen faced heated questions from Democratic lawmakers Tuesday over her recollections of a White House meeting in which President Trump questioned why the United States would take additional immigrants from “shithole countries.”
The remarks have set off a days-long firestorm, raising the odds of a government shutdown and emboldening Democrats to demand that a fix protecting certain immigrants brought to the United States as children be included as part of a deal.
Nielsen insisted throughout the more than four-hour hearing that she had not heard Trump use the word “shithole,” earning her withering criticism from some Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I don’t remember the specific words [Trump used],” Nielsen said in response to questions from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the first senator to publicly accuse Trump of using the phrase to describe Haiti and other countries.
“What I was struck with, frankly, as I’m sure you were as well, was the general profanity that was used in the room by almost everyone,” she said.
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