Dem blasts Meadows for bringing black Trump official to challenge racism accusations

Rep. Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceLee Zeldin responds to Ilhan Omar accusing him of 'bigotry' Lee Zeldin responds to Ilhan Omar accusing him of 'bigotry' Ilhan Omar: Endorsement of Black-Jewish Caucus 'isn't an endorsement of Zeldin's bigotry' MORE (D-Mich.) on Wednesday blasted Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsRep. Amash stokes talk of campaign against Trump Rep. Amash stokes talk of campaign against Trump House Oversight votes to hold Barr, Ross in contempt MORE (R-N.C.) for citing a black official from the Trump administration to challenge allegations that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE is racist.

Lawrence called it "insulting" that Meadows used the testimony of one person, Department of Housing and Urban Development staffer Lynne Patton, in an attempt to nullify those accusations. 

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“Having endured the public comments of racism from the sitting president, being a black person, I can only imagine what is being said in private. To prop up one member of our entire race of black people and say that that nullifies that is totally insulting," Lawrence said during Wednesday's House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, which featured testimony from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, said in his opening statement Wednesday that Trump is a "racist" and a "conman."

Later on Wednesday, Meadows introduced into the record a statement from Patton in which she denied that Trump is racist.

The statement was not read aloud, but Meadows said that Patton said she would not work "for an individual who was racist."

"You made some very demeaning comments about the president that Ms. Patton doesn’t agree with. In fact, it has to do with your claim of racism," Meadows said to Cohen. "She says that, as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Ala., that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist."

Ben Williamson, a spokesman for Meadows, said in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday that Patton was invited “to offer her experiences as someone who has known both Mr. Cohen and the Trump family for many years.”

“We felt it was important for the committee to hear an account from someone not going to prison for lying to Congress, among other crimes," Williamson added. 

— Updated 4:10 p.m.