Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib outraged some of her GOP colleagues Wednesday when she called one of their actions “racist” during the House Oversight Committee’s questioning of President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney.
Earlier in the day, Republican Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.) had, in an attempt to refute Michael Cohen’s claim that Donald Trump is racist, physically presented a black Trump administration official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development whom Meadows said had a positive relationship with the president. The official, Lynne Patton, stood behind Meadows while he spoke.
During her turn to question Cohen, Tlaib pointed out that Meadows’ logic and use of a black person as a prop was racist.
"Just because someone has a person of color, a black person, working for them does not mean they aren't racist and … the fact someone would actually use a prop, a black woman, in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself,” she said.
Reps. Meadows and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) were immediately outraged, and shouted that the comment should be stricken from the record.
The committee’s chair, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, tried to defuse the situation by asking Tlaib to rephrase.
“Would you like to rephrase that, Ms. Tlaib?” he asked.
“I can actually read it from here,” she said, rereading her previous statement verbatim.
This led to a heated exchange, with Meadows asking Cummings to come to his defense.
“My nieces and nephews are people of color,” Meadows said. “You and I have a personal relationship that’s not based on color.”
Tlaib clarified that she meant parading a black person as props is doing something racist — not necessarily that Meadows himself was a racist.
"I am not calling the gentleman, Mr. Meadows, a racist, for doing so. I'm saying that, in itself, it is a racist act,” she said.
Cover: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich) listens to Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testify before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)