Sen. Booker rips DHS chief for 'amnesia' about Trump's words

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker's passion as he chided the homeland security secretary on Capitol Hill Tuesday is grabbing national attention. Some political analysts think he might also be testing the waters for a national run.

"When ignorance and bigotry is allied with power, it is a dangerous force in our country," Booker said in blasting Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for not "recalling" President Trump's alleged vulgar remarks about Haiti and African nations during a meeting about immigration.

"Your silence and your amnesia is complicity," Booker, a Democrat, said.

The president has only admitted to using strong language. Sen. Dick Durbin asked Nielsen what that strong language was.

"Let's see—strong language there was, uh—apologies," she said. "I don't remember a specific word."

"I had tears of rage when I heard about this experience in that meeting," Booker said. "And for you not to feel that hurt and that pain and to dismiss some of the questions of my colleagues, saying 'I've already answered that line of questioning' when tens of millions of Americans are hurting right now because of what they're worried about what happened in the White House."

Booker's passionate rebuke of the DHS secretary and of racism has some wondering if the Democrat has set his sights on a higher office.

"There's no doubt that Cory Booker is seriously considering running for president," political analyst Steve Adubato said. "The Democrats are looking for a candidate. And Cory Booker is probably saying to himself, 'Why not me?'"

Booker attracted national attention before ever getting a job in Washington. When he was mayor of Newark, Booker personally helped his neighbors shovel out after a snowstorm. And he gained super-hero status after running into a burning building to help save his elderly next door neighbor.

The ambitious Democrat also has some famous friends. One whose name has also recently been tossed around as a possible presidential contender—Oprah Winfrey.

"This opportunity to go after the head of homeland security on the s-hole comment, if you will, it gave Cory Booker an incredible opportunity to be on the national stage," Adubato said.

He added that he doesn't think Booker has any interest in running as No. 2 on any ticket. If he runs, Booker would certainly aim for the top job.