A former Trump aide called Senator Kamala Harris hysterical but provided no evidence of how her behavior fit the word’s definition of being “uncontrollably emotional” or “irrational.”
On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee, which of which Harris is a part, held a public hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss his involvement with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election and the transition period before Donald Trump was inaugurated. Senators on the committee, including Harris, were each allotted time to ask Sessions questions.
During a discussion after the hearing on Anderson Cooper 360, Trump surrogate and former Trump aide Jason Miller remarked that Harris was “hysterical” during her question-and-answer period with Sessions, which correspondent Kirsten Powers called him out on. “How was Senator Harris hysterical?” she asked him. “I don’t really understand that. I mean, she was asking some tough questions.”
Miller tried to claim that he meant Harris was using “completely partisan screed” during her time questioning Sessions. “From my perspective ― my, I would say, objective perspective ― I mean, it was, it didn’t seem like there was any effort to try to get to a real question or get to the bottom of it.”
Powers again questioned how that was the same thing as “hysterical,” but Miller said it was just “his opinion.”
In addition to being called hysterical, Harris has been interrupted several times by Republican congressmen during public hearings over the past week. During Sessions’ hearing, she was interrupted by senators John McCain and Richard Burr; they claimed she wasn’t letting Sessions finish his testimony. She was also interrupted by Burr and McCain while questioning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein the previous week.
The term “hysterical” — as well as words such as “crazy” and “emotional” — has long been used to discredit women’s voices and give people (typically men) an excuse to disregard their concerns or opinions. The word “hysteria” itself is derived from the Greek word for “uterus,” and it was believed during ancient Greek times that a “wandering uterus” was responsible for the “emotional” problems women had, for example mood swings or general irritability. During the 1800s, “hysteria” was considered a medical diagnosis that could land women in mental asylums.
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