Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) likened Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to Nazi enablers on Thursday, commenting on what he called her complicity with the White House's bigotry by saying "we know what happened in Europe when people just did their jobs."
When Nielsen appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Booker lit into her for claiming in earlier testimony that she did not recall President Donald Trump referring to African nations as "s—hole" countries in an Oval Office meeting last week.
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Booker said he had "tears of rage" over the comments and called her testimony "unacceptable." The remarks went viral, although critics on the right suggested Booker was performing for the cameras and the Republican National Committee hit Booker for "mansplaining" to Nielsen.
"People who sit by and do nothing when they hear bigotry are complicit in that bigotry," Booker said on "The Breakfast Club" radio show, when asked about his tirade.
Booker said he had been "consistent" in his fight against prejudice throughout his career. He has said Nielsen lied under oath during her testimony by saying she couldn't remember Trump's comments and also criticized her for not connecting Trump's rhetoric to right-wing hate crimes.
"If you come after Jews, if you come under Muslims … you come after my fellow American citizens, I will not tolerate it," Booker said. "And she should have been in the same way, as opposed to just doing her job. Well, we know what happened in Europe when people just did their jobs."
"We know what happened in our own history where people were just doing their job. It allowed the most evil kind of hate to proliferate, and we can't allow that. We must stamp that out in our country," he added.