In between all the grandstanding and non-answers, there was an emotional moment near the end of Michael Cohen’s congressional hearing when a Democratic lawmaker called out one of her colleagues for what she described as a “racist act.” It ended in an all-too-familiar scene.
“Just because someone has a person of color, a black person working for them does not mean that they aren’t racist,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said at the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing. “The fact that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself,” she continued.
There was little doubt Tlaib was referring to a shocking moment earlier in the hearing when Rep. Mark Meadows brought out Housing and Urban Development official and former party planner Lynne Patton, who is black, to somehow claim that President Donald Trump couldn’t be racist.
Meadows knew perfectly well Tlaib was talking about him and he wasn’t having it. He quickly, and loudly, began interrupting Tlaib who continued talking until she was done. When she finished, Meadows angrily demanded that the comment be stricken from the record. But the freshman Democrat read back her comments, making clear she never called Meadows a racist but rather that it was a “racist act” to do what he did. “I’m not calling the gentleman Mr. Meadows a racist for doing so, I’m saying that in itself is a racist act,” Tlaib said.
Meadows then got very emotional and said his “nieces and nephews are people of color” so to claim that he used a black woman as a prop “is racist.” He added that “to go down this direction is wrong.” Tlaib then went back again over her comments. “As everybody knows in this chamber, I’m pretty direct. If I wanted to say that I would have,” she said. “But that’s not what I said.”