On her first day on the Senate Judiciary Committee, California Democrat Kamala Harris was not having any of Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s enabling of Trump’s racist rhetoric and policies.
Harris pointed out that Nielsen had earlier in the hearing rationalized Trump’s hateful contrast of mostly-white Norway, which he views as a “nice” country, with mostly-black “shithole countries.”
Kirstjen Nielsen, whose name could not sound more Scandinavian, argued that Trump was simply calling Norwegian immigrants “hard-working.” Harris immediately pointed out that that meant Trump thinks African and Haitian immigrants, the highest-achieving demographic of any ethnic group in the entire U.S. including whites and Asian-Americans, are lazy.
Harris’ Democratic colleague, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, had retorted that being from Norway is “not a skill.”
Harris took the baton from Leahy saying, blasting Nielsen’s pathetic claim that she was “not aware” that Norway has a vast white majority:
You run the Department of Homeland Security, and when you say you don’t know if Norway is predominantly white when asked by a member of the United States Senate, that causes me concern about your ability to understand the scope of your responsibilities and the impact of your words — much less the policies that you promulgate in that very important department.
In other words, Harris called Nielsen incompetent.
She also lambasted Nielsen — who previously failed people of color in the DHS by sleeping on the proverbial job during Hurricane Katrina — for leaving out white supremacists when enumerating U.S. security threats, even though white domestic terrorists have committed the most massacres of any other group by far.
Harris continued, “You must understand the inference, the reasonable inference, that the American public is drawing from the words you speak, much less the words of the president of the United States.”
Nielsen then clutched her pearls, exhibiting the signature white fragility that makes racist caucasians act as if the charge of racism is a worse crime than racism itself:
If you don’t mind, it’s not a fair inference to say that my comments about Norway were in contrast to any other country . . . What I was describing was the president’s views upon meeting with the prime minister, and what I was quoting was what he was told in meeting with the Norwegian delegation. That’s what he repeated, words that he repeated that I repeated. It was not in contrast. With respect to white supremacy, we expanded our prevention efforts in the Department of Homeland Security to ensure we in fact are going after violence of any kind, any kind is not not appropriate and I will not allow it to occur if it’s within our authority to stop.
Of course, that’s not true, since the Trump administration has suggested removing white supremacists from their counter-extremism program.
Harris made sure to set the record straight, firing back so all the room could hear:
Mr. Chairman, I would just ask that the record — so we can all review it — will reflect in the opening statements when discussing challenges to our homeland in terms of security, the white supremacist threat was not mentioned.
Any president who has to keep saying, “I’m the least racist person you’ve ever met,” is a racist.
Any administration that defends him and carries out his racially-biased policies is complicit in racism, as Kamala Harris’ fellow new African-American judiciary committee member, New Jersey’s Cory Booker, said today.
However, with Senator Harris now leading the judiciary committee’s offensive, it is Trump and his Cabinet who should be very afraid.