Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez stormed out of a hearing on Thursday after accusing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of being a liar.
Gutierrez ramped up tensions in the hearing by claiming that U.S. border policy would have killed Jesus and accusing Nielsen of lying about not having a policy that requires family separation.
“Shame on everybody that separates children, that allows them to stay at the other side of the border fearing death, fearing hunger, fearing sickness,” Gutierrez said angrily. “Shame on us for wearing our badge of Christianity during Christmas and allow the secretary to come here and lie.”
“Calling me a ‘liar’ are fighting words, I’m not a liar, we’ve never had a policy for family separation — I’m happy to walk the gentleman through it again,” Nielsen responded, meeting Gutierrez’s anger.
“A policy of family separation would mean that any family that I encounter in the interior, I would separate,” she continued. “It would mean that any family I found at a port of entry, I would separate. It would mean every single family that I found illegally crossing, we would separate. We did none of those.”
Gutierrez appeared uninterested with Nielsen’s response and eventually stood up to leave the hearing entirely.
Nielsen referenced Gutierrez’s walkout, stating, “Of course, he couldn’t be bothered to stay, so I’m happy to tell the rest of the committee,” before citing her work with vulnerable populations near the border.