Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Senator Josh Hawley clash over antisemitism
During a hearing on Tuesday, October 31, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas clashed with Sen. Josh Hawley, calling his words “despicable,” and “odious.” Mayorkas fired back at Hawley after he suggested that DHS security was not addressing antisemitism in his department. Hawley questioned Mayorkas about a DHS officer who shared Hamas-Israel war-related photos with the caption, “Free Palestine.” He argued that the officer should have been fired and remarked, “You have employees that are celebrating genocide.” The secretary, who is Jewish, and the son of a holocaust survivor, didn't fall far behind during Hawley's line of questioning, as he went on to address the matter on a more personal note.
Hawley asked, “Mr. Secretary, what's going on here? Is this typical of people who work at DHS? This is an asylum & immigration officer who is posting these, frankly, pro-genocidal slogans and images on the day that Israelis are being slaughtered in their beds. What have you done about this?” When the senator asked about the officer, Mayorkas said that she had been put on administrative leave. The secretary also noted that he was unable to comment any further as it was an “ongoing personnel matter.” After a series of questions laid by Hawley, which the secretary declined to answer, Mayorkas then proceeded to hit back, addressing the personal attacks from GOP members as per the Hill.
Mayorkas, who is Jewish, began his statement, “Number one: What I found despicable is the implication that this language, tremendously odious, actually could be emblematic of the sentiments of the 260,000 men and women of the Department of Homeland Security.” He continued, “Number two: Senator Hawley takes an adversarial approach to me in this question, and perhaps he doesn't know my own background. Perhaps he does not know that I am the child of a Holocaust survivor. Perhaps he does not know that my mother lost almost all her family at the hands of the Nazis. And so I find his adversarial tone to be entirely misplaced. I find it to be disrespectful of me and my heritage.” “I do not expect an apology. But I did want to say what I just articulated,” he added.