Cummings Keeps Hearing From Going Off The Rails After Accusations Of Racism

US Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, listens as Michael Cohen, attorney for President Trump, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol... US Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, listens as Michael Cohen, attorney for President Trump, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 27, 2019 5:33 p.m.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) on Wednesday said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) had engaged in a racist stunt by using Trump administration official Lynne Patton as “a prop” during a hearing with former Trump fixer Michael Cohen. In turn, Meadows responded angrily: “It’s racist to suggest that I asked her to come in here for that reason!”

“It is insensitive — the fact that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman, in this chamber, in this committee is alone racist in itself,” Tlaib said when it was her time to question Cohen.

She was apparently referring to when Meadows pointed out that he had invited Patton, an official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to the hearing. Referring to Patton, Meadows said earlier Wednesday, “She says that as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist.” Cohen, in his opening statement, said Trump was a racist and provided examples of racist comments Trump had made in private. 

Meadows reacted angrily to Tlaib’s comment, asking committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) that Tlaib’s words be removed from the record.

Cummings asked Tlaib if she’d like to rephrase her comment, to which she read again from her prepared remarks, again stumbling slightly in the middle of them: “Just because someone has a person of color, a black person, working for them, does not mean they aren’t racist. And it is insensitive, and some would even say it is racist in itself, to use a black woman as a prop to prove it otherwise.”

She continued: “As a person of color in this committee, that’s how I felt in that moment, and I wanted to express that. But I am not calling the gentleman, Mr. Meadows, a racist for doing so, I’m saying that in itself, it is a racist act.

“Well I hope not, Mr. Chairman, because I need to be clear,” Meadows bellowed.

Cummings tried again to clear things up with Tlaib. She responded: “I do not call Mr. Meadows a racist. I am trying as a person of color, Mr. Chairman, just to express myself and how I felt at that moment.”

Meadows pointed out that “My nieces and nephews are people of color,” but, before long, he seemed to accuse Tlaib of making a racist comment herself.

“To indicate that I asked someone who is a personal friend of the Trump family, who has worked for him, who knows this particular individual [Cohen], that she’s coming in to be a prop? It’s racist to suggest that I asked her to come in here for that reason!” he said.

Patton, Meadows added, is “the President’s own person. She’s a family member… she loves this family. She came in because she felt like the President was getting falsely accused.”

Cummings responded that Meadows was “one of my best friends” and that “I can see and feel your pain” after Tlaib’s comments, but that “I don’t think Ms. Tlaib intended to cause you that.”

Tlaib confirmed “that was not my intention.”

Meadows thanked Tlaib and Cummings and dropped his request.

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