Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) on Wednesday welcomed criticism from the Republican National Committee (RNC) over his treatment of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
The RNC released a statement criticizing Booker for his dramatic remarks against Nielsen, in which he rebuked her for saying she did not recall President Donald Trump’s exact words at a recent meeting. That meeting has drawn substantial attention for reports that Trump referred to some nations as "s—hole countries," and Booker entered into the fray by telling Nielsen he had cried "tears of rage" about it.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked about Republicans’ statement, which called him "Derogatory Cory," and Booker said he was happy they finally trained their sights on him.
"First, I'm glad they're finally attacking me," he said. "They attack senators almost every day."
Booker also said it was "insulting" that he would be expected to treat Nielsen differently based on her gender.
"It is a little insulting to say that I should be treating cabinet secretaries one way or another depending on their gender," Booker said. "These are political operatives."
He went on to say that he was pleased to target Nielsen for "lying," and he declared his conduct "on point."
"I'm standing here as a United States senator in my official capacity challenging a cabinet secretary who is lying before the Senate on an issue that affects my state as well as this nation as well as us internationally—on something as serious as her lying about overt bigotry coming out of the White House," Booker said. "My conduct was on point. My personal emotion in all this should be understood: I will fight against bigotry, racism, sexism homophobia wherever I see it because I've benefited in years past from people doing the same."
The RNC’s statement said that Booker’s actions would receive a drastically different media reaction had the parties been reversed.
"There’d be so many triggered Democrats that there’d be a hashtag within minutes, campus protests across the country, and the topic-du-jour for celebrities at Hollywood’s next award show," the RNC’s Michael Ahrens wrote.
"But because the party affiliations were reversed, Derogatory Cory got nothing but praise from the selectively-outraged base he was clearly performing for yesterday," he added.