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RNC Chair, CNN’s Cuomo Spar Over Booker’s ‘Mansplaining’ to DHS Secretary

• January 18, 2018 11:12 am

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Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel sparred with CNN host Chris Cuomo on Thursday over Democratic Sen. Cory Booker's (N.J.) treatment of Secretary of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen two days earlier.

On Tuesday, Booker berated Nielsen over a variety of topics at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The senator expressed alarm and disgust after Nielsen testified that she did not recall President Donald Trump's reported remarks from last week calling Haiti and African countries "s—hole countries."

"I hurt!" Booker yelled at Nielsen. "When Dick Durbin called me, I had tears of rage when I heard about his experience in that meeting, and for you not to feel that hurt and that pain and to dismiss some of the questions of my colleagues … when tens of millions of Americas are hurting right now because of what they're worried about what happened in the White House, that's unacceptable to me!"

He then explained that the U.S. is an "incredible nation" because it teaches that people's values and character, not where they come from, is what matters.

The RNC accused Booker of "mansplaining" to Nielsen, saying that the New Jersey Democrat, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, would not have treated the secretary of homeland security in the same manner if she was a man.

"It would have been covered differently if it were a Republican senator yelling or lecturing a woman coming before the Senate, not giving her a chance to explain herself, grandstanding," McDaniel told Cuomo. "I know he's auditioning for 2020; I understand that. But he was disrespectful and he did mansplain to her and she's an intelligent woman."

Cuomo then asked McDaniel why Booker should need to treat Nielsen—who the CNN host described as "so strong, so competent, so empowered"—differently than a man in an age of gender equality.

"I don't think he should have to talk to her differently," McDaniel responded. "But I will say, he was disrespectful to her as the secretary of homeland security, and he was mansplaining to her."

On Wednesday, Booker said in an interview that he was "glad" the RNC was "finally attacking" him. Some observers took Booker's comments as a sign that he felt validated as a potential presidential candidate after receiving criticism from the RNC.