Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen expressed a desire to “move forward and discuss ways in which we can protect our country,” during her testimony before the Judiciary Committee Tuesday after being asked for the fourth time about vulgar language reportedly used in an immigration meeting last week with President Trump. She was subsequently asked again about the language by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI).
“At any point in that conversation on Thursday did the President of the United States use a four-letter word beginning with s in combination with other words or alone that you heard?” Sen. Blumenthal asked.
"Sir, respectfully, I have answered this," she replied. "I've been very patient with this line of questioning. I'm here to tell you about the threats our country faces and the needs and authorities that are needed by the Department of Homeland Security. I have nothing further to say about a meeting that happened over a week ago. I'd like to move forward and discuss ways in which we can protect our country."
Her response followed the same line of questioning from Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) began the questioning about Trump's alleged “sh**hole countries” remark asking, "You were in the room. You're under oath. Did President Trump use this word or a substantially similar word to describe certain countries?"
"I did not hear that word used. No sir," Nielsen said.
"That's not my question. Did he use anything similar to that describing certain countries?" Leahy asked.
"The conversation was very impassioned,” Nielsen said. “I don't dispute that the president was using tough language. Others in the room were also using tough language.”
"The concept and context, I believe, in which this came up was the concept that the president would like to move to a merit-based system,” she added. “He would like to not and no longer look at quotas.”
Following Blumenthal and Hirono’s questioning about the language, Sen. Cory Booker delivered a speech on the alleged vulgar remarks, telling Nielsen her “silence and amnesia is complicity.”