Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) unloaded on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Thursday House Judiciary Committee hearing.
The fiery speech is likely the last time Gutiérrez will face off against Nielsen — the congressman who has represented Illinois’ 4th Congressional District since 1993 opted against pursuing re-election in 2018 and will leave Congress in the coming weeks.
With his retirement looming, Gutiérrez didn’t hold back in his remarks on Thursday. He opened by effectively calling the hearing a sham meant to show how “remorseless” Nielsen is.
“I suspect that if you still have your job — which seems to always be a big question — in three weeks, we’ll see if you still have the same sympathetic questions when you come back,” he said.
Gutiérrez lambasted the whole of the Trump administration for lying to the public before zeroing in on Nielsen and the department she helms.
“But specifically in the area of homeland security, lying has become elevated to a now-astounding level of mendacity,” Gutiérrez said.
The congressman also questioned why DHS is asking Congress for money to build a wall on the southern border when the president campaigned on the promise that Mexico would foot the bill.
Watch the video below, via C-SPAN:
.@RepGutierrez: "Shame on us for wearing our badge of Christianity during Christmas and allow the secretary to come here a lie."@secnielsen "Calling me a liar are fighting words. I'm not a liar. We've never had a policy for family separation." pic.twitter.com/EgyjzKZsSs
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 20, 2018
Gutiérrez also took aim at former DHS Secretary and outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly for saying that undocumented immigrants struggle to assimilate into American society because they are uneducated.
“I would not assimilate,” he said of Kelly’s comments.
The congressman continued by lambasting Nielsen for claiming that DHS never had a policy of separating families. By the end of his allotted five minutes, Gutiérrez hadn’t directly asked Nielsen a single question.
Nielsen responded by labeling Gutiérrez’s accusations “fighting words” and maintained that she is not a liar. As the secretary attempted to argue why the administration’s policy was not one of family separation, the congressman stood up and left.