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

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEx-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets Exclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency MORE (D-N.J.) on Wednesday defended his questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump's acting ICE chief to leave post Trump's fight with city leaders escalates Neo-Nazi pleads guilty to 'swatting' Black church, Cabinet official, journalists 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 McConnellNegotiators remain far apart on coronavirus deal as deadline looms States begin removing Capitol's Confederate statues on their own Skepticism grows over Friday deadline for coronavirus deal MORE (R-Ky.) used it while justifying silencing Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBill from Warren, Gillibrand and Waters would make Fed fight economic racial inequalities The other reason Democrats want Biden to shun debates The Memo: Biden faces balancing act 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 John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation 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.