Cory Booker defends conduct toward female Cabinet secretary as 'on point'

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries Fighting poverty, the Biden way Top Senate Democrats urge Biden to take immediate action on home confinement program MORE (D-N.J.) on Wednesday defended his questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenEx-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' MORE during a hearing, after the Republican National Committee (RNC) accused him of "mansplaining."

"My conduct was on point, and my personal emotion in all of this should be understood. I will fight against bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia wherever I see it because I have benefitted from people speaking up in years past and I will do the same," Booker, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, told CNN's Jake Tapper. 

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The RNC sent an email Wednesday slamming Booker, 48, as “Derogatory Cory," and urging readers to picture a Republican male senator “mansplaining” to a female Cabinet secretary.

The committee concluded the email with the phrase "nevertheless, she persisted," which was adopted by feminist groups after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to act on debt ceiling next week White House warns GOP of serious consequences on debt ceiling Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (R-Ky.) used it while justifying silencing Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFederal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Mass.) on the Senate floor last year. 

Booker disputed the charge that he had "mansplained." 

"It’s a little insulting to say that I should be treating Cabinet secretaries one way or another depending upon their gender," he said. 

The senator blasted Nielsen on Tuesday after she said she did not hear President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE referring to some African nations, El Salvador and Haiti as "shithole countries." 

"When ignorance and bigotry is allied with power, it is a dangerous force in our country. Your silence and your amnesia is complicity," Booker said to Nielsen.