WASHINGTON — New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker set social media afire Tuesday after his emotional confrontation with a top Trump administration official and his condemnation of the president's use of the word "shithole" to describe Haiti and some African countries.
Booker, a Democrat, ripped into Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Senate hearing after she said she "did not hear" Trump use that term and could not remember what he specifically said. The confrontation quickly went viral and had people on the right and left talking about the senator's prospects as a potential candidate for president in 2020.
"When ignorance and bigotry is allied with power it is a dangerous force in our country," Booker railed, his eyes bulging and anger evident, during his turn to question Nielsen. "Your silence and your amnesia is complicity."
He argued that hateful words from a U.S. president "festers" and contributes to an atmosphere that has included increased threats against minorities, including death threats against minority lawmakers such as himself.
"When Dick Durbin called me I had tears of rage," Booker said, recalling when the Illinois Democrat told him about the meeting in which Trump reportedly used the expletive to describe some countries. "For you not to feel that hurt and that pain … that's unacceptable to me."
(Trump has denied saying it, though numerous news outlets have reported that he did use that word, some citing Republican officials).
A video of the Tuesday confrontation was liked more than 29,000 times on CNN's official feed.
Nearly 28,000 liked it when shared on an MSNBC news producer's Twitter feed.
Many on the left hailed Booker's passion, with some seeing it as a positive sign for his chances in a potential presidential bid.
Conservatives mocked the senator, accusing him of acting for his own political purposes and making fun of him for saying he cried. They argued that it showed he'd be a "soft" candidate against Trump.
Others, meanwhile, simply did what social media does: